Mum-of-two Allana West struggled with milk supply with both of her babies, trying pills from the doctor and endless hours of pumping, while dealing with dairy and soy allergies for both children. She finally discovered lactation cookies and nursing tea and it changed everything. This is what led her to launch Bubba Delish, a range of products designed for breastfeeding and expressing mums to provide delicious, natural milk support. Full of galactagogues (ingredients believed to assist with breast milk production), their products not only taste great, but are designed to equip you with additional benefits to nourish and support you on your breast milk journey. Here Allana talks to The Natural Parent Magazine about the inspiration behind her business, the challenges she has overcome, and her hopes and dreams for the future.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
I had wanted to set up a business for years and after having my first baby, really wanted to be able to do something for mums. Like many mums, I found returning to full-time work really difficult so wanted to create something that I could love doing and help people along the way.
Both my babies were premmies and particularly with my first, I had breast milk supply issues. I also had two babies with a very bad dairy and soy allergy causing awful reflux and extreme vomiting. I was on an elimination diet for a long time with both babies to ensure I couldn’t make them sick with my breast milk. I have no known allergies so catering my diet to avoid consumption of dairy and soy was at times really challenging. I pretty much couldn’t eat anything while I was out and was a lot more restricted at home as dairy and (especially) soy are in almost everything! When I discovered lactation cookies, it made a huge difference to my supply and I was able to make them dairy and soy free so I knew they were safe for my babies. I became very passionate about helping mums who are struggling with supply, allergies and/or just looking for a delicious snack. I love being in the kitchen and really needed to feel that my working life wasn’t just a job but a passion, so my Bubba Delish dream was built around all the things I enjoy – food, helping people, and creating products from my heart.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
I won’t lie; it took a long time to get up and running. The business idea originally was for homemade baby food as well as lactation support products. I had an impossible time getting a kitchen registered to prepare the baby food in so I had to re-look and re-assess my business plan. I also went back to full-time work when my daughter was 10 months old. Between working and being a mum I really didn’t have much time to set up the business. When I was on maternity leave with my son, I really buckled down and worked on the business as much as I could in between dealing with a toddler and a newborn. I changed the plan to focus on lactation support products, as the products I was making and using were really helping me breastfeed my son, so I registered my own kitchen and went from there. After many, many batches of cookies, I managed to perfect my recipe and I was able to focus on the direction of the business.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
Firstly finding my focus point for my business, then really nailing the recipe for my cookie dough was probably my biggest breakthrough. I literally baked hundreds of batches (at least it felt like it!) to find the recipe I liked the best and ticked all of my boxes. I am a tough critic so this was a long but very important part of the process.
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
It can be really hard. I try to be really present with my kids when we are all together but I also have an over inflated sense of urgency, so as soon as I see orders come through, I want to start baking – which isn’t easy around a 5- and 2-year-old, so I’ve been learning to prioritise and manage my time around these factors. I also work another job so I need to get as creative as I can with my time. This can mean really early mornings, working weekends, doing deliveries in my lunchbreaks and sometimes working till late at night. I love it though; it really is a passion project so I enjoy every batch of cookies I make.