FOUNDERS LETTER

Message From The Founder – Dr Hayley Dickinson PhDHi! Thank you for dropping by. 

I am Hayley, founder of eat for baby. I am a mother, daughter, sister, aunt, wife, sister-in-law, mother-in-law, daughter-in-law, ex-wife, friend and scientist. It is a little part of all of these roles that brought eat for baby to life.

I have a science degree and PhD from Monash University where I led a successful research group until early 2018. Our biggest research program was focused on creatine. Our experimental work showed creatine to be very effective at preserving life and preventing brain and other organ injury of newborns when oxygen levels were very low. Over many years, we progressed our research from very early discovery work through to studying pregnant women and their babies. I am pleased that my research program continues in the safe and caring hands of scientists and clinicians at Hudson Institute of Medical Research/Monash University and with colleagues around the world.

I stepped out of academia in late 2018. I was burdened by the pressure of getting funding to maintain our research program and torn, between where I was viscerally drawn to being (home caring for my daughter), and where my career needed me to be (present in the lab, travelling the world presenting our work, publishing more and more manuscripts). I also became frustrated by the slow pace of change for women's and children's health. I eventually stopped believing in my capacity to make a difference.

I continue to climb out of the hole that I found myself in after I left academia and I have regained the belief that I can make a difference.

Several months into my recovery, I sat pondering the almost universal use of prenatal supplements by pregnant women, wondering if we could somehow improve them so that they actually provide real benefit to women. Then it dawned on me, why don’t we just do it with food? Why do we even need supplements? What if women just ate real food? That was the moment eat for baby was born. Fast forward two years and here we are.

Over time we’ve discovered that we can give women on their pregnancy journey everything they need from food, but it’s not as simple as it once was. Food has changed from how it once was. We no longer have a direct relationship with the foods we eat. We no longer know how, or by whom our food was grown. Our food doesn't even look like real food. The nutrients we are told are in our food aren't actually measured (they are derived from databases and standardised calculations). We can no longer assume that something described as food is good for us.

For women on their pregnancy journeys, it is even more complicated. With mixed messages from well-meaning care providers, the media, friends and family, women are left confused by what to eat. Sometimes women are scared of the consequences of eating the 'wrong' foods. They're almost always tired and overwhelmed, with little time to take care of themselves.

The mission for eat for baby was defined early. Simply we want to make it easy for women to eat real food that actually delivers the nutrients they need (we have a few products for the men in their lives too!). 

We know that women are busy, and too often put themselves a long way down their own priority lists, leaving their health and wellbeing suffering at a time when it needs to be the highest priority. We’ve designed our foods to fit in with what you are already doing: nut and seed mixes that you can add to your breakfast cereal, salads, soups and smoothies. We give every meal a micronutrient boost, like balls that pack a punch in nutrients that are convenient to take with you but without the protein powders and fillers you don’t need. We are continuing to develop new products so there will be more to come soon. 

Because we know women aren’t just the carers of their own family, but are the carers of mother earth and all her inhabitants, we are committed to sourcing local and organic ingredients wherever possible. We use packaging that is sustainable and we are always making sure we are doing the best we can. If you think we can do better, please let us know. 

As we launch our foods, I encourage you to get involved. Please try our food, test our recipes, tell us what you love and what you’d like to see. Most importantly, enjoy and learn from the information we’ve provided you. We want to share all we know so that you can make informed choices that benefit your health and your babies. 

Building eat for baby has been no small task. I am grateful to the incredible team that have volunteered their time and resources to achieve our goal. 

I’m passionate about eat for baby and sharing my knowledge and excitement with you. 

Yours in health, wellbeing and real food,

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