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Welcome to the Nature Baby Journal, a thoughtfully curated world of information for parents and parents to be. Inspiration, products and ideas that will nurture you, your baby and the environment.

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motherhood: fran woods

Co-founder of Franjo's Kitchen and friend of Nature Baby, Fran Woods, shares with us a little bit about her journey of motherhood. The challenges she's faced, and the best bits too, as well as some words of wisdom from a working mama.

I have two girls, Phoebe who is nearly six and Margot who is three...

I am the co-founder and director of Franjo’s Kitchen – we create naturopath formulated biscuits, crackers and muesli to nourish mothers. I also act as an in house lawyer for a number of amazing retail brands. I work from home on both businesses however a lot of my work is in Australia (where I lived for 9.5 years) so I travel there regularly.

I live in a lovely villa on the border of Westmere and Grey Lynn aka West Lynn. I love the area I live in, just around the corner from the West Lynn shops (including Nature Baby) and walking distance from Cox’s Bay, beautiful reserves and the cute Westmere shops and cafes. I feel very lucky to live where I am, especially as I get to avoid Auckland traffic most of the time and can pop up to Ponsonby in five minutes!

A word I live by as a mother...

Is 'surrender'. I am a type A personality, and I find the children really stressful sometimes, especially when I have work stuff going on, the house is a mess and the kids are screaming. I have worked, and continue to work really hard at letting go, surrendering and being in the moment. It’s an ongoing challenge!

Gosh it’s a journey. It really is, I had a wonderful time as a first time mother with my daughter Phoebe, however we faced challenges further down the track with family illness and adding a second child into the mix. Everyone says this, but it really does go quickly. Before you know it, they do start to grow up. It’s ok to feel overwhelmed and frustrated but equally, try to relax into it, accept it and enjoy it. Also, I am a big believer of the fourth trimester. Really take that time in those early days and weeks to be kind to yourself and focus on you and your baby. You don’t get that time back. 

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One of the most challenging times since becoming pregnant.

When we lived in Australia, my husband become very ill with arthritis. Franjo’s was still very new, I was still working in an external job and I became pregnant with Margot. I developed a subchorionic haematoma and honestly, it was without a doubt one of the most difficult times of my life. I won’t ever forget it (and am still a little scarred by it all) but I am also grateful for the experience as it has taught me a lot about life.

My mother and mother in law have both been incredibly supportive and helpful in my journey. They have allowed me freedom to be an individual, spend time with my husband and work. They are amazing grandmothers and the children love them. I would be lost wihout either one.

Franjo’s started after I struggled to breastfeed Phoebe, my eldest. I had googled “how to make more breastmilk” and came across the concept of lactation biscuits.

I was making them at home for myself when a chance meeting brought Jo into my life. Jo is a naturopath and nutritionist and was developing a biscuit range Kookas Natural (which Franjo’s now owns). I could see the gap in the market for a naturopath formulated biscuit for new mothers and the rest is history. 

My favourite part of my job is helping mothers. I honestly get such a kick from hearing from our customers. Our customers share their journeys with us every day and it is such a privilege to be able to play a small role in their breastfeeding journey. 

Exercise, yoga, switch off (no screen time) and spending time with my friends and family helps me to find balance.

I try to be strict with when I am working and when I am not and I prioritise exercise and eating well. It’s not always perfect, and particularly when I am travelling a lot of things can get really out of whack, but over the years I am getting better at it all. 

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My favourite routine is in the morning.

Oh God, bedtime. Still a nightmare! (Margot is a tricky sleeper). My favourite routine is in the morning... If my kids aren’t already in bed with me from sneaky night time visits, they always come in for an early morning cuddle. It’s definitely one of my favourite times of the day and I hope they never give it up! 

A day in the life 

I LIVE… in Westmere

I AM CURRENTLY READING… anything and everything! Reading is one of my passions. I just finished the latest Liane Moriarity book Nine Perfect Strangers and I have about 10 books waiting beside my bed. 

I’M LISTENING TO … music has always been a huge part of my life however I am losing touch lately! I listen to Hauraki and the National Radio at home during the day but I am struggling to keep up with the cool kids! Fill me in!

MY WEEKENDS START WITH… coffee. Always. And yoga. 

ONE ITEM I CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT… my children and husband. 

Must have baby/newborn essentials?

Franjo’s bikkies of course, beautiful swaddles and HEAPS of onesies. If your babies are anything like mine they go through about five a day! 

Thanks so much for sharing your journey here with us Fran. We so love working with you and the Franjo's team! xx Nb