parent opinion

This woman helped feed families for years. Then her 'perfect' world came crashing down.

When you become a parent, you are opened up to a whole new online world. The algorithm quickly replaces cute fashion posts with tips on how to settle a newborn. Life comes at you real fast.

Then when it comes time serve your baby solids for the first time, your fyp wallops you with an onslaught of baby-led weaning tips, puree recipes and best practices for feeding your little one food. And it is actually an incredibly useful tool for time-pressed parents wanting to give their kids the best nutrition possible.

Enter the rise in children's food bloggers, who have had a mammoth growth in following on Instagram over the past five years. Move over glamorous travel influencers; mummy food influencers have taken over.

One such influencer who has had a meteoric rise on Instagram is Amy Palanjian, aka @YummyToddlerFood. Chances are you've seen her posts — you may even have saved that healthy chicken nugget recipe, or added one of her reccos to your list of regular dinnertime faves.

But the picture-perfect life she portrayed on Instagram left ou9t what was happening behind the scenes.

Who is Amy Palanjian?

Amy Palanjian is a mum of three from Des Moines, Iowa who has experienced an interesting career shift.

Once upon a time, Palanjian was a writer, editor and recipe developer for publications like FamilyFun, Bon Appetit, and Better Homes and Gardens, however she eventually parlayed her expertise into a website and subsequent Instagram account of her own.

Amy Palanjian and her children. Image: Karla Conrad.


In 2014, Palanjian launched the Yummy Toddler Food blog, which set out to provide families with helpful tips on introducing food into babies' diets along with healthy recipes for kids of all ages. Her content has always been incredibly informative as well as being free from judgement in a parenting industry full of opinions.

Watch: Why the word mummy blogger needs to be reclaimed. Story continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

Yummy Toddler Food's rise in popularity.

Palanjian has been at the forefront of the mummy food blogger trend for a decade now and has parlayed that success into multiple touchpoints and streams of revenue. Back in October 2023, the Yummy Toddler Food Instagram reached one million followers, proving just how popular the account had become in recent years.


She's not only enjoyed success through her blog and Instagram, but also released seven cookbooks, with her most recent offering, Dinnertime SOS, reaching the New York Times Bestseller list.

How Amy Palanjian's 'picture perfect' life changed.

One of the most refreshing parts about Palanjian's content has always been her openness about her experiences in feeding her family. She documented the challenges around trying to always getting a healthy meal on the table whilst being a mum to three young children with transparency.

While she has always been candid about sticky fingers, rejected mealtimes and fussy eaters, on the surface, it seemed looked like she had it all: a flexible career that let her work from home, a happy family and warm and inviting home. 

Perhaps unknowingly, she had created a world for other parents to gaze in on, and it looked pretty special.

But beneath the fluffy zucchini muffins and smiling family photos, life was far from perfect.

Late in 2023, as Palanjian was reaching new heights of success with her business, her content began to slowly allude to circumstances surrounding her personal life. In one Instagram Q&A, she let followers know she and her family were going through a tough time without directly announcing what exactly that meant.

Then in early 2024, during a voiceover for a recipe she posted, Palanjian said she had almost lost her appetite for a whole year while going through divorce proceedings.


It wasn't her usual type of content, but there was something very refreshing about her lifting the veil on what was going on behind closed doors. While she has zero obligation to ever share anything she doesn't want to, there was something about being so candid about divorce that has helped normalise these proceedings.

Then in March she opened up about what it was like going on her first solo-parent holiday with her kids. She shared food updates, but also let us in on what it was like carrying the full mental responsibility of being a solo parent on holiday. Her 'picture perfect' life had changed drastically, but she let followers know that 'Instagram perfect' isn't reality.


Of course, with the news of her divorce, curious followers wanted to know more. Reddit feeds began to fill with questions, with her dedicated followers wanting to know what had caused the rift between Palanjian and her now-ex-husband Joshua Dolezal's (the brother of Rachel Dolezal). 

Plenty questioned whether Dolezal's previous legal issues were at the heart of their breakup. (Back in 2013, he was charged with four felony counts of sexual abuse of a minor between 2001 and 2002. Those charges were dismissed in 2015.) But while Palanjian has shared some details of her divorce online, she has refrained from giving details about what lead to the eventual breakdown of their marriage.

Despite what must have been a truly painful time for the food blogger, she has managed to candidly give insights into many aspects of her life, all while protecting her children and continuing to provide a much-appreciated service to millions of families around the world. 

But her story is a stark reminder that whatever we see online is not always the whole picture.

Feature Image: Instagram/@yummytoddlerfood.

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