We are exceptionally fortunate to have the baby whisperer, Meg Faure, as a BabyYumYum expert to answer all your baby, sleep, feeding and sensory questions. Her experience and expertise have given countless parents peace of mind and much needed support during the first few months of parenting, which has laid the foundation for strong family units. In this candid interview, Meg opens up about her career, Baby Sense, baby banting, and battling her own dark space.
How old do you feel? I feel 33 years old, not a day older 🙂
How do you feel taking on the responsibility and title of “the baby whisperer”? I really am not sure that I am a ‘baby whisperer’. I do know that a baby’s sensory world holds the secrets for a calm baby. For most new parents it’s hard to know what to do when their baby cries in the early days. So I really wrote Baby Sense for parents so they can be their baby’s own ‘Baby Whisperer’ and in the process connect and fall in love.
I have always worked with children and babies – it’s been a 21-year journey of caring for and helping parents and their little ones.
How is your family made up : children, husbands, pets? I have been married for 20 years (this month) to my greatest champion and we have a son (17 years old) and two daughters (15 and 10). We have two Jack Russels and a cat.
What is your background? I am an Occupational Therapist and in 2001 wrote Baby Sense, which became a bestseller and the basis for the rest of the Sense-series range and the product company.
Where did your career begin? I studied at UCT and my first job was in a New York hospital. I have always worked with children and babies – it’s been a 21-year journey of caring for and helping parents and their little ones.
How did BabySense come about? I always had a book in me – I knew that understanding signals and the sensory world of the baby held the key to a calm baby. After the birth of my second little one, my husband suggested I write down what I was teaching him about our babies. I approached Wilsia Metz who is the publisher for all my books – an amazing publisher and someone I now count as a friend. I then approached Ann Richardson to write Baby Sense and the rest as they say is history. I did have a business sense for adding further levels of value, such as the seminars (2003) and the product business (2005) and the other sense series books (Sleep Sense and Feeding Sense).
What was your biggest accomplishment with BabySense? I suppose having a bestselling book and a company would be seen as my successes but actually for me, when a mom tells me her mothering journey was enhanced by my work – that’s my biggest accomplishment.
How did you develop the products that are sold – was it based on what you wanted but could not find on the market for your babies? Occupational Therapists are trained to create and design assistive devices and I could see what would make parenting easier. The Cuddlewrap was my first unique design and filled a gap in the market to swaddle babies easily.
BabySense has become an internationally recognized brand – are you still involved with it and to what degree? I grew Baby Sense for 10 years and loved the journey. In 2014 I sold the product company in entirety. So I am no longer involved in designing, creating and selling baby products. I still ‘own’ the Sense-series books and they are my passion. The confusing part is that I am still the ‘Sense behind the books’ but I do not endorse nor have any input on the products any longer.
What has been your most challenging moment as a parent? I think the first three months are so tough – you and your baby are just getting to know each other and flexibility is vital. I had baby blues with my first and that is also tough. I also find the 10-18 month stage exhausting – toddlers are so much fun but exhausting. I am loving my teenagers!
I am no longer involved in designing, creating and selling baby products. I still ‘own’ the Sense-series books and they are my passion.
What tips can you suggest for balancing family and work life? I don’t always get it right and balls do drop but it is vital to have boundaries – I compartmentalize my life – Monday is my writing day, Tuesday new business strategy, Wednesday my OT practice and so on. The afternoons are my kid’s time – lifts, homework and cooking supper.
What has been your darkest moment? I found myself in a conflict situation a few years ago and that interpersonal conflict was harder than any late product order or pressurized deadline. I think that when we are in conflict, it saps our creative energy and that created a very dark space for me.
What memory in your early career made you realize that working with babies and parents was what you wanted to do? I just always knew – I think it was my life calling – by 16 I had worked out that the best route to work with babies was to study OT. I have never wavered from that decision.
Do you think that mothers and caretakers in SA have the correct tools to look after babies? I think the best tools to look after babies are the things that are free – time with mom and dad and knowledge. But if you are talking about things that make life a little easier, like disposables, dummies and swaddles, yes – we do have the tools. I think high-tech tools like bottle holders and nappy bins are not essential.
What is the next step in your illustrious career? My greatest passion remains conveying ‘sense’ to parents and this I am doing through my online platforms and next year will be launching the most amazing parenting events. In addition there are two more books in the writing as we speak.
I have also pioneered an education/childcare program called Play Sense which is piloting in Cape Town next year – check out the website – www.playsense.org.
Are you planning on having anymore babies? That is so funny – last night I dreamt I was pregnant again. But really, no more babies on the cards for us – three is a lot to manage – the resources (financial and time) needed for each child must always be considered when deciding to have another.
What is your daily Mantra? ‘Work hard; play hard’ – I really put my all into whatever I do and I love the things I do. That makes it all feel worthwhile, even when the going gets a little tough.
How do you feel about baby banting? I don’t have a strong opinion on this but as with all things I think that there is space for different opinions and some people do better with low carb diets. I do think that limiting processed carbohydrates and sugar is a good idea. That means a more healthy diet of veggies, proteins and healthy fats is a good option.