Vauvauutisia ja Australian Lapsiperhearkea Osa 1: Kalliit Päiväkodit

Osa on varmasti jo sosiaalisessa mediassa huomannutkin, mutta odotamme toista lasta saapuvaksi syyskuussa tänä vuonna! Kaikki on mennyt toistaiseksi mukavasti ja itse asiassa enteilinkin sukupuolen heti oireiden perusteella. Oikeassa olin.

baby toes

Halusimme odottaa, että tyttäremme on reilun kolmivuotias, en ole niitä naisia, jotka jaksavat lapsiperhearkea kahden vaippaikäisen kanssa. Tyttäremme on nyt jo hyvin itsenäinen, poissa vaipoista, ruokailee itse, nukkuu lähes joka yön putkeen omassa sängyssään, puuhailee itsekseen ja on kaiken kaikkiaan vain päivänsäde. Tuntui juuri sopivalta ajalta järisyttää helppoa arkea heh!

Ajattelin kirjoittaa sarjan postauksia Australian lapsiperheen elämään liittyen ensin päivähoidosta Australiassa,  sitten julkisesta äitien ja lasten sairaanhoidosta sekä viimeiseksi äitiysturvasta täällä valtameren tuolla puolen. Tässä sarjan ensimmäisessä postauksessa kuvailen hieman päivähoitoa Australiassa, sillä se on meille hyvin ajankohtainen kysymys.

Perhesuunnittelu Australiassa on kovin erilaista verrattuna Suomeen. Päivähoitokustannukset ovat korkeat. Meidän tapauksessamme Melbournen ydinkeskustassa päivähinta päiväkodissa on 135 dollaria eli 91 euroa päivältä. Päiväkodista maksetaan n. 50 viikkoa vuodessa, jolloin vuosikustannukset nousevat 23 000 euroon (n. 34 000 dollariin). Australian sosiaalijärjestelmä Centrelink tukee lasta kohden maksimissaan 7500 dollaria vuodessa 15 000 dollariin saakka eli omaksi maksettavaksi jää n. 17 900 euroa vuodessa (n.34000-7500 dollaria) . Tämä tarkoittaa n.1500e kuussa per lapsi (n.2200 dollaria). Meistä tämä tuntui halvalta Lontoon jälkeen, jossa maksoimme nannysta 420 puntaa viikossa (yli 500euroa viikossa) eli reilut 2000 euroa kuukaudessa ilman mitään avustusta. Tosiasia kuitenkin on, että jos täällä Australiassa on kaksi lasta päivähoidossa maksaa se kaksi kertaa tuon summan, jolloin kuukausi kustannukset nousevat 3000 euroon kuussa (4400 dollaria/kk). Tämä alkaa olla jo huomattava menoerä lapsiperheelle ja siitä syystä monet aussinaiset jäävät kotiin tai  työskentelevät vain 3 päivää viikossa, jolloin sosiaalietuutena saatu maksimituki kattaa melkein päivähoidon hinnan. Osa puolestaan yrittää ajoittaa toisen lapsen siten, että esikoinen olisi jo kinderissa tai pre-schoolissa, jolloin kustannukset edes toisen lapsen kohdalla hieman laskevat. Ongelmaksi tulevat kuitenkin päivien pituus ja koululomat. Kinderissä tarjotaan vain 20 tuntia viikossa ja seurataan koulun lomia, joten täyttä päivää tekevät vanhemmat joutuvat silti maksamaan lisää ekstratunneista ja tekemään erityisjärjestelyjä koululomien ajaksi, jolloin kustannukset nousevat jälleen.

Australiassa kuten Britanniassa tämä johtaa kahteen pääleiriin: naiset jäävät kotiäideiksi tai tekevät vain maksimissaan 3 päivää viikossa. Kolmas leiri, täyttä työpäivää tekevät pienten lasten äidit ovat hyvin harvassa (itselläni ei ole lähipiirissä yhtäkään paitsi suomalaiset naiset täällä!).  Itse en haluaisi kuulua kumpaankaan kahdesta pääleiristä, koska väistämättä oma urani kärsii, jos jään pitkäksi aikaa kotiin tai vähennän työpäivien määrää viikossa. Lisäksi rakastan työtäni niin kovasti, että toivon voivani tehdä täyttä päivää tulevaisuudessakin. Tästä leiriytymisestä on seurannut Australiassa paljon sukupuolten välistä epätasa-arvoa, joka suomalaiselle naiselle näyttää hyvin vanhanaikaiselta ja epäreilulta. Muutoksen aikoja eletään ja muun muassa suuri ANZ pankki kampanjoi naisten palkkaamisen ja naisten oikeuksien puolesta työelämässä. Katso vaikuttava ANZ #equalfuture mainos. Mainosteksti tylysti toteaa ”Girls start off so far ahead but the system’s not designed for women to succeed. Let’s create the system that is.”

Suomalaiselle tämä keskustelu on hyvin vieras. Tuntuu usein, että Suomessa lapsia toivotaan ja tulee, niitä ei suunnitella. Täällä kuten Britanniassa perhesuunnittelu on tärkeää, muuten kustannukset tai vaikutukset omaan uraan saattavat olla hyvinkin turmiolliset. Huomaamattani minusta tuli jo Lontoo-aikana varsin feministi, jollaiseksi en aiemmin itseäni tunnustanut. Nyt huomaan sen vain vahvistuvan, kun huomaan miten naiset luopuvat täällä monista asioista tilanteen pakosta. Paljon mietittävää.

Päiväkodit ovat kyllä ihania täällä Australiassa ja paljon varaa valita. Laitoimme tyttäremme Reggio Emilia opetusmetodia käyttävään päiväkotiin. Tämä metodi on hieman Montessorin kaltainen. Korostaa taidetta ja musiikkia osana oppimista. Kaikki lelut ja tarvikkeet on valmistettu luonnon materiaaleista. Oppiminen tapahtuu lasten tahdissa ja erityishuomio kohdistuu lapsen vahvuuksiin ja niiden kautta pyritään kehittämään ja opettamaan lisää, sillä tällöin lapsi omaksuu oppimansa paremmin. Päiväkodissa on musiikkihuone, kirjasto, taide-alue, perhos ”pyhäkkö”, joka on pitkä joka kerroksen halki menevä lasitettu alue perhosille jne. Tässä muutamia ihastuttavia kuvia päiväkodista.

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Taidehuone

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Kirjasto

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Leikkialue

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Taidetta tarinoin

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Hyönteishuone

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Leikkialue/keittiö ja olohuone

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Ulkoleikkialue

Tyttäremme kehitys on mennyt huiman harppauksen eteenpäin tässä päiväkodissa ja opettajilta olemme saaneet palautetta, että hän turhautuu tällä hetkellä oman ikäistensä parissa ja hakeutuu vuotta vanhempien seuraan. Kielenkehityksessäkin hän harppasi hieman hitaasti kehittyneestä kaksikielisestä lapsesta melkeinpä vuoden omaa tasoaan edelle. Voin siis suositella Reggio Emilia päiväkotia sydämestäni ja tyytyväisenä kustannan päiväkodin hinnan. Opettajat ovat mahtavia, omassa keittiössä valmistettu ruoka herkullista ja aktiviteetit kerrassaan loistavia. Kukkarolle se käy, mutta voiko koulutuksesta ja lapsenhoidosta koskaan maksaa liikaa? Eikö se olen yksi tärkeimpiä investointeja lapsen tulevaisuuteen?

Some shocking news about my baby’s allergies -Shokeeraavia uutisia vauvani allergioista

Our family life was turned upside down this week. We finally got to see the allergy specialist after a long wait for 6 months. When the appointment started the lady did not take me seriously at all but thought I was just a hysterically worried new mother with no perspective. I had faced this so many times with the doctors here in England so I stayed calm although cried a bit. The doctor was like usually belittling everything I was concerned about and basically questioned my weaning as I seemed to limit my baby’s diet without 100% evidence. She did not believe the allergy blood test results really mattered after all.

Due to my small cry to remove my on-going worry she offered to do the skin prick tests. She tested all the most important nuts (hazelnuts, almonds, cashews and peanuts), dairy, eggs, soy, sesame and wheat. We waited for 15 minutes, I dressed our daughter so that she would not scratch herself as her skin got irritated straight away. When we finally removed the clothing her whole wrist was swollen (the hand where the test was made), so was the back. The doctor’s face was shocked. Quite often skin prick reaction is a small hive like bump and it is measured in millimetres. My daughter’s dairy test showed 3 cm swollen bump around her wrist, egg reaction was big too and cashew bump was huge and red, other nuts caused large reactions around the prick as well. This all happened only after a small drop of each test liquid and a little crack of the skin. Doctor’s tone changed drastically, she prescribed immediately an Epipen (adrenaline pen) to carry with us at all times in case our daughter gets life threatening anaphylaxis. She also told us to remove eggs, dairy and nuts from our house as apparently our daughter with these kind of test results could react to only smells. We are not allowed to give her any products that may contain traces of milk, eggs or nuts. This is tough and means lots of special products.  Here in England almost every product contains traces of milk or nuts. I have been struggling to find even oats that would not be packed in a nut factory! Doctor told us she will be seeing us regularly from now on to follow the situation. We were told to come to the hospital for food challenges and not to try anything risky and new food at home. So we will have a soy and wheat challenge soon and after that a salmon and cod challenge. Challenges will start with extremely small quantities and special nurses will monitor her all that time.

After all this I am glad I trusted my mother instinct. Since my daughter’s excema flamed 9 months ago I had the feeling things were not right. This feeling was following me throughout the breastfeeding time as she reacted to everything I ate,  same happened with weaning. Every doctor I saw during the past one year belittled the allergy problem, treated me as a hysterical woman and told me to feed my daughter everything, all the food including dairy and eggs. Luckily I did not believe in any of them and trusted my own inner instinct. During the past year I read so much research about food allergies, literally everything I could get to my hands. After the test it was clear that if I had given dairy, eggs or nuts to her we would have been playing with her life and in an urgent need of First Aid from ambulance (which in London does not always come quickly enough.)

Phew. What a long journey. Nine months of uncertainty, desperate searching and begging for help from different doctors and the sad fact that if I had not paid for the allergy blood tests in Finnish private hospital last summer we would not even be here as no-one believed me, hardly with the blood test results in my hand. Luckily everything is clearer now and we can breath and relax. It is very reassuring for me to have an Epipen at home as I know that I can help my daughter if she accidentally eats something inappropriate and I can win more time before the help arrives.

My mum who is a doctor said that during their pediatric lectures their professor was telling all the students to listen to mothers and trust mothers’ instinct even more than doctors should trust their own medical knowledge. I think that is so true. There must be something bigger than life in a relationship between a child and a mother. Mothers not only sense but they also feel and know if something is wrong. For me the biggest challenge was that when everyone belittled my instinct I started to doubt myself and thought the fear has taken over my instinct and ability to read my own feelings. It did not.

We will have a big challenge in future regarding schools and nurseries. In Finland where the allergy management is amazing and schools have cantines and children do not bring their own lunches in, the risk of your child eating something bad is very little. Here the things are very differently. Children not only bring their own food with them but people seem not to be very aware of allergies. I went to the nursery before Christmas to enquire a place for my daughter. I explained her allergies and highlighted the dairy allergy and the next question was could they give yogurt for her!!!!I was very disappointed.  I know I will need to accept the worry that our daughter eats her friend’s chocolate bar or just ends up accidentally putting something inappropriate to her mouth will shadow our days.  Still after all this nothing made me happier than to know for sure and to know how serious her allergies were and how cautious we should be in future. It removed the 9 months of uncertainty and fear. I think my baby girl has sensed my relief as she has been sleeping so well for the past two nights and has been smiling and enjoying her days in a way I have not seen for a long time.

She is such a sweetheart.

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My brave little girl at the hospital.

A small little place in Soho -Pikkupaikka Sohossa

I love my coffee. I love brunching, lunching and dining out. I guess I could have been one of those women who never grow up and could always just be out and about partying or having fun socialising with my friends. I haven’t given up of my outings after the baby and I never will (of course they have been a bit limited for the past 10 months). Life is all about enjoying and I will make sure my little daughter learns this attitude as well. When my sister was in London couple of weeks ago we went to this fantastic coffee shop in Soho. We just wandered and bumped into the place. I have seen it several times but never been to inside so it was about the time to give it a try. It is called Foxcroft & Ginger on Berwick Street in London. It is in the heart of Soho that I so love. I guess now after having a baby I have realised how many places I could have gone in the evenings and I still would find new ones. When I feel sad about how many things I miss due to being stuck at home, I try to comfort myself that at least I had my baby young such as when I am mid forties I can return to London and do it all again 🙂 This Foxcroft&Ginger is a coffee shop during the day time and a cool bar at the night time!

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ImageMenu just gorgeous!

ImageI had Eggs Benedict with soy flat white and my sister ordered some super tasty veggie brunch. Delicious!

ImageMy favourite thing: reading menus!

ImageGymnastics horse -great piece of design!

I warmly recommend this place!

Anyway, I hope you all have a great Christmas. I am in Finland now. It is so dark that sun hardly rises..no snow and I do wonder how  I was able to live in this country over 20 years all these winters through. Finns must have some additional gene to handle it. Our stay here has been pretty crazy so far..circus in fact as our baby has woken up hourly every night crying. I feel like after 10 months I do not have strength for this anymore so when we go back to London I think I will be looking to hire a night nanny to do the nights, I dream of booking a hotel as I do need some sleep.

Sorry for not being writing in Finnish lately, I have been so terribly busy (and tired) that to type the text in both languages has been just impossible. I wish you all a very merry Christmas!

Christmas time in London -Joulunaikaa Lontoossa

Christmas is almost here, crazy. I think despite all the decorations I have not realised it is Christmas, I have been so busy. Typical me though, always so many things to do. Sometimes I laugh at myself thinking, I could live life a lot easier, I could not try to do everything!

Anyway, I love German.Swiss, French and Austrian Christmas Market culture. The atmosphere is just enchanting. We have Christmas markets here in the UK but I have to say they are not as authentic with all the wooden toys and gluhwein as the Central European ones.

I went to the one in South Bank, no snow so I really had to use all my imagination to get the Christmas feeling. Here are some pictures I took. I apologise the quality, I took them with my Lumia phone instead of our good camera but I think they’ll do and you get a picture of the type of markets we have here.

ImageI bought amazing pearl earrings from these markets I love them!

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ImageThis fake snow that everyone wanted to touch made me really laugh as a Finn who has lived with the snow for over 20 years. I tried it and it was nothing like real snow 🙂

ImageThis BFI (British Film Institute) Riverfront Restaurant is awesome! I went there with my friend, in fact she had her birthday there. It is in the South Bank. Really good value for money. Nothing fancy but really cosy and casual. For hamburger lovers it offers a great selection including pulled pork burgers!

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More pictures about the restaurant. I warmly recommend it. It is also very family friendly during the daytime.

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I had to take this photo. One day we can show our little baby girl where she spent her days. Crossing Thames on the pedestrian bridge from impressive St. Paul’s Cathedral in the City to South Bank. In the background you can see the Shard (over 72 floors) the new skyscraper that will be the tallest building in Europe!Great views aren’t they! My tiny Londoner in the pram. I will miss London when one day we may not life here. Until now I do feel that I have a privilege to enjoy this fantastic city and all it can offer!

Whiskey cupcakes -Viski-suklaa kuppikakut

ImageHello everyone and sorry for a long pause between the posts. We were travelling last weekend. We did an amazing trip to Hamburg to see my dear friends and their two and half month old daughter, who is so adorable by the way!!! Our flight there was a disaster though, our little daughter decided to be a devil instead of a sweet smiley girl. She literally cried all flight, had massive tantrums as she was not allowed to crawl and walk on the aisle..the first night in the hotel was also a bit crazy. The dietician that we saw the day before told us not give any milk during the night time as our daughter should start eating more and not just drink 1l of formula each day. SO we tried. AND we will never try again. It was horrific. Crying all night long. We thought that as much as she should eat more solids we need our sleep. I want to believe she will start eating when it is a right time for her and if she does not I can see myself as a failed mother whose 15 year old teenager girl still drinks milk to replace her meals  -I don’t thinks so 🙂 … So I have given up, she eats if she eats and she can drink milk as much as she wants so that she grows. Despite the crazy flight out and first horror night in, we had a great long weekend in Hamburg. The flight back was super easy and our daughter smiled all the time even though it was an evening flight. In the cab she got a bit car sick so I was covered in her spew from head  to toes when we finally got home. Well, I guess this is what it will be like for the following 18 years.. Travelling chaos. We will still do it as we love travelling. Our baby can cry and spew, I just have to remember not to wear nice clothes on until we are steadily on the land again.

To cheer up your Monday I want to share this amazing cupcake recipe with you. My dear friend who lives in Hamburg is also a super well known of her baking delights. I once shared the whiskey cheesecake recipe with you that I got from her -still my guaranteed dessert- and here you are whiskey cupcakes this time. Boozy and groovy! The cupcakes were so good that I ate two huge ones without breathing in between!

Whiskey cupcakes:

100g dark chocolate

90g butter

1 1/4dl (a bit over 1/2 cup) caster sugar

1-2 eggs

2 1/2dl (1 1/4 cup) white flour

1 tsp vanilla sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 dl (1/2 cup) dark coffee

1/2dl (1/4 cup) whiskey

1. Melt chocolate.

2. Whisk butter and sugar.

3. Add eggs one at the time and whisk.

4. Mix the dry ingredients together.

5. Add melted chocolate into the butter mix.

6. Add coffee and dry ingredients to the dough.

7. Pour dough to the cupcake tins and bake in 175 celsius degrees for 15-20min.

8. Tap some whiskey on cupcakes and let them get moist. Leave to the fridge for 2 days to get the full flavour.

Icing:

50g butter

150g dark chocolate

150g soft cheese

1. Melt the butter and chocolate. Let it cool.

2. Mix it with soft cheese and add the icing on cupcakes.

ENJOY! THEY ARE SUPER GOOD!

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Hei ja pahoittelut postauksen kestämisestä. Olimme viikonloppumatkalla Hampurissa tapaamassa ystviämme ja heidän kaksi ja puolikuukautista tytärtään. Menolento oli kaoottinen. Tyttäremme kiljui ja itki koko lennon ja sai itkupotkuraivareita sillä ei voinut ryömiä ja kävellä käytävällä. Ensimmäinen hotelli yö oli myös hirveä. Ravintoterapeutti, jolla kävimme muutamaa päivää ennen kielsi antamasta maitoa enää yöaikaan, jotta tyttäremme alkaisi syömään ruokaa eikä vain lipittäisi 1l korviketta päivässä. Oli sitten viimeinen kerta kun kyseisen kokeilun teemme. Hotellihuoneessa eikä varmaan koko hotellissa nukkunut kukaan sinä yönä. Päätimme yhteistuumin, että tytär saa juoda tasan niin paljon korviketta kuin haluaa kunhan me saamme vain nukkua. Kun olimme toenneet kamalasta lennosta ja yöstä meillä oli aivan ihana reissu Hampurissa! Paluulento meni täydellisesti ja tyttäremme hymyili ja leikki koko ajan. Harmi kyllä hän alkoi voimaan taksissa pahoin -autopahoinvointia- ja oksensi kaikkialle. Olin siis yltä päältä oksennuksessa kun pääsimme vihdoin kotiin. No, vauvamme saa oksentaa ja buutaa mutta me matkustamme. Täytynee vain muistaa laittaa kauhtuneimmat vaatteet päälle matkustaessa ja vaihtaa sitten tyylikkäämpiin kun olemme turvallisesti maan kamaralla.

Hampurissa asuva ystäväni on tunnettu leipomistaidoistaan Siellä ollessa hän tarjosi meille viskisuklaa kuppikakkuja. Söinkin niitä yhdeltä istumalta kaksi valtavan kokoista, hyvä kun hengitin välissä, niin herkullisia ne olivat. Tässä siis maanantai päiväänne piristämään kyseisten kuppikakkujen ohje. JAM!

Viski kuppikakkujen ohje:

100 g tummaa suklaata

90 g voita

1 1/4 dl sokeria

1-2 munaa

2 1/2 dl vehnäjauhoja

1tl vaniljasokeria

1/2 tl leivinjauhetta

½ tl soodaa

1 dl vahvaa kahvia

1/2 dl viskiä

Sulata suklaa. Vatkaa voi ja sokeri vaahdoksi. Lisää munat yksitellen vatkaten. Sekoita kuivat aineet keskenään. Lisää sulatettu suklaa rasvaseokseen. Lisää kahvi ja jauhoseos vuorotellen taikinaan. Kaada taikina muffinssivuokiin (tai rengasvuokaan). Paista 175 asteessa noin 15-20 minuuttia (kokonaista kakkua 55 minuuttia). Kostuta kakku viskillä ja anna maustua 1-2 vuorokautta jääkaapissa.

Kuorrutus:

50g voi

150g tumma suklaa

150g tuorejuusto

Sulata kattilassa voi ja tumma suklaa. Anna jäähtyä huoneenlämpöiseksi ja sekoita joukkoon tuorejuustoa. Levitä kuppikakkujen päälle.

Walking socks -Tepsuttelua sukin

ca09e4fa-8adf-44d4-9260-4ae205172fc2_jpegIn England most of the mothers make their babies wear shoes all the time. Shoes? I could not believe my eyes when I saw some three month old babies in uncomfortable shoes. Do you know that babies are also force to wear shoes here in the nursery too?!!

I know if your baby starts walking early and does not wear shoes her feet will become flat and not beautifully formed. I certainly know that, I started walking super early myself and my sister even earlier and we both have what we call in Finland ”lättäjalka” – literally flat foot. Only thing my eight month old wants to do nowadays is walking. She wants me to walk her around the house and discover rooms and decide the direction herself. She pulls herself up and starts walking with support like a daredevil. I have been desperately looking for socks with rubber bottom but here in England it is not that easy to find those as instead of socks with grid the babies wear shoes. Luckily in Belgium I found amazing rubber socks, in fact they are so fantastic that I have not seen anything like that ever before. The socks have an actual thick rubber bottom that is flexible, bendy, folds with the foot and keeps the grid. I don’t think you can order them online (unfortunately) but if you end up in Belgium check out this store called Veritas. These baby socks are without comparison, they are wonderful! Plus they look cute!

Hope you have had a great Saturday, I had, our dear friends were visiting and it was so nice to see them!


Englannissa äidit laittavat vauvansa kulkemaan kengissä jo ennen kuin he ovat lähelläkaan kävelyikää.  Kengät? En voinut uskoa kun näin kolmekuiset vauavt kengissä! Tämän lisäksi, päivähoidossa täällä vauvat -jopa alle yksivuotiaat- pakotetaan pitämään kenkiä jalassa koko päivän.

Tiedän kyllä, että jos vauva lähtee aikaisin kävelemään riski lättäjalkojen kehittymiselle on suuri. Itse kävelin kymmenkuisena ilman tukea, siskoni yhdeksänkuisena ja molemmillaa meillä on lättäjalat. Oma tyttäreni on samanlainen, nyt kahdeksankuisena ainoa asia mitä hän haluaa tehdä on kävellä ympäri taloa! Hän vetää itsensä pystyyn ja kävelee pitkin tukia kuin mikäkin rämäpää. Olen siis yrittänyt etsiä hyviä jarrusukkia, mutta niiden löytyminen tästä maasta on lähes mahdotonta. Onneksi matkustinne Belgiaan ja löysin ihania jarrusukkia, joissa on superpaksu muovinen taipuisa pohja -täydelliset rämäpää tyttärelleni!!! Tsekatkaa siis kauppa Veritas, valitettavasti tuotteita ei voi tilata netin kautta, mutta jos eksytte Belgiaan suosittelen kyseistä putiikkia lämpimästi, siella on myös ihania naisten vaateteita, koruja, sukkia ym.

Toivottavasti viikonloppunne on ollut ihana, minulla on ollut rentouttava lauantai ja ihanat ystävämme olivat kylässä mikä piristi päivää!

Weekend getaway in Belgium – Viikonloppumatka Belgiassa

We left to Belgium on the earliest Eurostar on Saturday morning. We planned to do this as we thought if we woke up at 4.30 and fed the baby she would go to sleep and happily sleep until 7am when the train would already be departed. Everything went perfectly as planned -which is unusual with babies-  and our little baby girl slept even thorough the whole security check which was amazing! We knew she would be cheerful all day if she just got the sleeping right.

We changed trains in Brussels as we were heading to a small town called Mechelen. It was a beautiful Belgian town with small chocolate shops and boutiques. We stayed in an apartment hotel Vixx right in the centre of the town. Our apartment was huge, modern and really chic! If you go to Mechelen this apartment hotel is definitely a place to stay! Instead of going down to the buffet in the morning they brought all the breakfast to your apartment for request. This was of course perfect (and easiest) for us as we had a crawling little baby to look after so it was so much more relaxing to have our breakfast in the room.

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In Mechelen we caught up with my dear Aussie husband’s friends from Brisbane. We went for a few beers in the town. As they had two kids their own our timetable was very child friendly and accommodating. I have noticed that it is so easy to go out with couples with kids these days as I don’t feel guilty all the time for doing things according to our baby’s daily routines . All the people with kids understand that routines are just worth keeping to keep your baby happy! The great spot we went to was the Carolus brewery. This bar/restaurant served only the beers that were locally brewed. Have I mentioned many times enough that I am the biggest fan of Belgian beers, Trappist monastery brewed beers to be exact. I am not a lager kind of girl but dark Belgian beers (doubles and triples) just have something I so adore.  Later on after we got our baby girl to sleep our friends came over to our apartment. We ended up having a big night, chatting and tasting Belgian Trappist beers until 1am! It was great fun but we felt exhausted on the following day 🙂

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Despite our exhaustion we headed to Antwerp on the following day. It was such a gorgeous city! I will definitely return there.

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Antwerp train station was so beautiful!

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We had our lunch in a fantastic restaurant. I can warmly recommend it to you all. It was called Applemans and was just in the centre of Antwerp’s old town. I had a superb goat cheese salad and my dear Aussie husband had tasty seafood croquettes. So good! I totally forgot to photograph my dish which is a shame as everything was so well presented and flavoursome!

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On the way home on Monday we stopped in Brussels. I don’t want to sound mean but I didn’t really like it. It was over priced and quite ugly despite the old centre. I much rather go to Bruges, Mechelen or Antwerp for example.

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The food was excellent in the place we ate. It was a restaurant called Leon de Bruxelles. We ate curry mussels and fries -the classic! Still I have to say that you get much better value for your money in smaller towns in Belgium.

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The train journey home went so well that we were both really impressed how well our baby girl did even though it was a bit after her usual sleeping time. We were sneaky and circulated the toys and books and she was totally happy for those two hours that it took us to get back to London. We parents were munching wasabi crisps and Belgian chocolate. You should try wasabi crisps if you haven’t already, they are excellent! You can buy them in Switzerland and Belgium at least, I haven’t seen them in the UK unfortunately.

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We had a fantastic and relaxing trip. Our baby behaved well most of the time and we managed to get some parents’ time too! It is, however, lovely to be back home. We had chosen our weekend getaway well as it was the crazy St Jude storm in the UK whilst we were eating mussels and enjoying warm weather in Belgium. Our house was still on its place with the roof and walls 🙂

This is what it looked like this morning when I had a walk in the park. The storm did cause some damage even here in North London.

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What I eat -Mitä syön

My cooker is still broken. Can you imagine?! It has taken four engineer visits and five weeks for British Gas to discover that they cannot find a spare part for our cooker, they cannot fix it and the whole oven-hob combination needs to be replaced. Unreal. Due to this circumstances I cannot unfortunately provide you with many new recipes. I am so looking forward to get a new cooker so that I can actually start baking again. I promised to volunteer by baking cakes for NCT nearly new sales in a few weeks time and I so hope I do not have to cancel it.

In the meantime I thought I would write a post about what I eat on daily basis as many people around me so often note how healthily I live, particularly Britons. I don’t know whether my eating habits are still strikingly Nordic, by saying this I mean home-made and healthy cooking or if they really are naturally very healthy, I honestly don’t know. I think I got a small Heathrow injection during my first year in the UK. Heathrow injection is the metaphor of the weight gain people experience when migrating to London. Well, it is all gone now thanks to breastfeeding and I am back in my normal shape in UK size 6!

I have been always rather health conscious but particularly when I had to start keeping food diary due to my baby’s allergies it suddenly struck me how healthily I ate. I love good food so I would not go for boring and bad tasting healthy meals ever. By glimpsing through my meals and snacks in the food diary the overall impression is pretty healthy. I think my biggest problem has always been that I get excited about some particular food and I keep on eating it day after day until I finally get bored. This is what my dear Aussie husband noticed as a distinctive character in me when we met. It is true, I admit. When I had my cottage cheese avocado phase I ate it every day. When I have my raspberry oatmeal phase (like now!) I eat it every morning…so sometimes I think my diet can turn to rather one-sided if I don’t pay attention to it. Sometimes I should force myself to be more versatile. Maybe this one-sided and repetitive tendency is the key to stick to my weight so easily. It was remarked in TIME article I once read that people who tend to eat same things day after day don’t gain weight for some reason..who knows how fair this statement is but in my case it has worked so far.

In general my approach is tasty food in reasonable amounts. I don’t ever give up on the quality but rather the quantity. Instead of having some awful low-fat yoghurt I have full fat Greek yoghurt full stop. Instead of low fat cream I have only half a tub of double cream. Instead of margarin I use butter to get the full flavour, I just do not add 1cm layer on the top of my bread.

When looking at my food diary I have kept for the past months my usual day starts with either an oven baked raspberry oatmeal.  This is obviously my breakfast at the moment, next month it can be something else that I get obsessed with! The alternative for this raspberry oatmeal is a Swiss style muesli which usually consists of rice milk (or milk) soaked jumbo oats (1dl, so half a cup) , date pieces and raisins, a tiny bit of honey (1 tbsp) or Agave syrup  (1 tbsp) and one grated apple (Royal Galas are my favourites!!).  I am a big fan of oats, I have always been. I use them in everything particularly in baking. Oat is nice, fatty and flavoursome grain and tummy friendly too.

My lunch is usually a salad, a power food salad  which is quite often built around chicken or fish -hot smoked salmon being my favourite. I throw some quinoa, nuts, roasted almond flakes, dried cranberries or raisins in it and I usually make my own olive oil and honey-mustard dressing. If I am out and about I usually order a salad or sushi. My favourite sushi is salmon avocado topped with some roe. Other one I love is a crab roll.  When I was able to eat dairy my favourite salads were either goat cheese or halloumi salad!

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My afternoon snack is usually nuts. I am the biggest nut eater by miles. My husband calls me a chipmunk as I munch so many nuts. The other reason for this nickname is that when I smile my cheeks appear proportionally huge and I do look like a chipmunk! I wish I had beautiful cheek bones but I do not, I have round baby cheeks!

I don’t eat lollies or chocolate candy bars (like Snickers or Mars) as I don’t really like them. I love chocolate but I have never really been the type of person who can smash the whole block of chocolate in one go. I am happy with a few pieces or a small chocolate bar. Maybe my biggest weakness is ice cream, Ben&Jerry Karamel Sutra in particular. It is so sweet with its caramel core that my friend got into labour after eating it. The baby must have gone nuts from the amount of sugar my friend ate when she finished the whole pot on her own! In addition to nuts I also love berries -blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, so I tend to eat them if i have them in the fridge.

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For dinner we usually cook something really nice as I love cooking dinners and having a tasty glass of wine with the dinner. Pastas, risottos, Thai curries or very filling salads with nice meat and fish are our usual type of dinners. For dinner I like to have a good amount of carbs as then I have a full tummy and I sleep better all night long. I do not avoid white flour, I favour it over rye, barley or whole grain. I have always been like that. As Finns usually love rye bread I am an alien in my home country. I do not really eat rye unless it is in so called sweet archipelago bread. I love nothing more than white French artisan baguettes! I enjoy dipping sliced bagutte pieces in good quality olive oil. I use olive oil so much. I go through bottles so quickly that I cannot believe it.

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I don’t use much cream at the moment as you know if you have been reading my blog but if I didn’t have the dietary restrictions due to my baby I would use cream. I always use double cream, but I use it to increase the flavour and make the flavour smoother and well rounded. I don’t pour the whole lot in! For example if I make vol au vent seafood sauce or risotto the maximum I would ever use is 50-100ml! I don’t want to over power the dish with cream as if there is too much of it I find it a bit too heavy and greasy. So overall I think my eating habits are kind of combination of Nordic and French in many ways.

Uunini on yhä rikki, joten uusien reseptien testaaminen ja tänne postaaminen saa odottaa. Neljä British Gasin insinöörikäyntiä takana ja viisi viikkoa kulunut ja uuni siis yhä rikki. Eilen ilmoittivat, ettei oikeaa varaosaa ole saatavilla ja koko uunihärpäke joudutaan vaihtamaan. Miten tämän toteamiseksi on voinut mennä 4 käyntia ja viisi viikkoa???  Uunin korjaus on siis saanut jo koomiset mittasuhteet. Lisäksi epäilys hiipii, että British Gas palkkaa roskakuskeja insinäärien saappaisiin tai toinen vaihtoehto on ettei tämän maan koulutustaso ole hääppöinen. Sillä aikaa kun uunini odottaa korjaamistaan ajattelin kirjoittaa postauksen siitä mitä syön, sillä niin useat ihmiset, etenkin Britit, ympärilläni usein kommentiovat kuinka terveellisesti syön ja elän. Luulen että terveelliset elämäntavat etenkin ruokailun suhteen ovat vielä osa pohjoismaalaisuutta minussa. Pohjoismaissa kotitekoinen ja terveellinen ruoka kun on yhä kovasti arvossaan. Ette usko kuinka usein täällä Lontoossa näkee ihmisten kaupassa ostavan kaiken valmiina, aivan kaiken. Täytyy myöntää, että sain kyllä pienen ”Heathrow piikin” (Heathrow injection) Lontooseen muutettuamme. Heathrow piikki on metafora painonnoususta, jonka Lontooseen muuttavat usein kokevat. No, se on kaikki poissa imetyksen jälkeen ja olen takaisin lähtömitoissa UK:n koossa 6!

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Tyttäreni allergioiden vuoksi aloittamaaani ruokapäiväkirjaa selaillessa huomasin itsekin kuinka terveellisesti itse asiassa syön. Rakastan hyvää ruokaa liian paljon syödäkseni mitään mikä maistuu ”liian terveelliselta” ja mauttomalta. Nyrkkisääntöni on aina ollut herkullista kohtuullisessa määrin. Suurin ongelmani on pikemminkin se, että innostun usein yhdesta ruoka-aineesta tai ruoasta niin paljon, että syön sitä kyllästymiseen saakka. Tämä on itse asiassa ominaispiirteeni, jonka rakas aussimieheni huomasi jo seurustelumme alkuvaiheessa. Ruokavalioni voi siis joskus päätyä hyvin yksisuuntaiselle polulle. Taannoin lukemassani artikkelissa tosin todettiin, että saman ruoan toistaminen päivittäin on useiden ihmisten painonhallinnan salaisuus. Ehkä siis tämä hullunkurinen ominaispiirre minussa onkin auttanut minua kautta elämäni pysymään hoikkana.

Yleisesti ottaen vihaan vähärasvaisia tuotteita, syön aina mielummin täysirasvaista kreikkalaista jogurttia, voita ja kermaa kohtuudella kuin kajoan kamaliin vähärasvaisiin litkuihin. Katsauksena ruokapäiväkirjaani voin mainita, että aamiaiseni on usein vadelmakaurakakkunen -ainakin tällä hetkellä kun vadelmakaurakakkubuumini on käynnissä. Vaihtoehtoisesti saatan syödä sveitsiläisen mysliaamiaisen mikä on siis riisimaidossa tai maidossa liotettuja jumbokaurahiutaleita (n. 1dl), johon olen sekoittanut taatelin paloja, rusinoita tai kuivattuja karpaloita sekä hieman hunajaa (1rkl) tai Agave siirappia. Tähän seokseen raastan yhden omenan (Royal Galat ovat suosikkejani), sekoitan yhteen ja maiskutan joko vadelmien ta mustikoiden kanssa. Kuten huomata saattaa rakastan kauraa ja käytän sitä paljon etenkin leivonnassa ja aamiaisissa.

Lounaaksi syön yleensä salaatin -power food salaatin- mikä tarkoittaa, että heitän salaatin sekaan kinoaa, pähkinöitä, gojimarjoja ja muuta energiaa antavaa. Syön tämän useimmiten kotona ollessani omalla hunaja-sinappi-oliviöljykastikkeella (1rkl hunajaa, 1 rkl ranskalaista sinappia, 1-2 rkl oliiviöljyä. Jos olen kaupungilla päädyn useimmiten joko vuohenjuusto tai halloumisalaattiin tai sushiin. Välipalana mussutan pähkinöitä ja paljon! Olen pähkinähirmu ja siksi rakas aussimieheni kutsuu minua maaoravaksi. Tämä nimi ei juonna juuriaan yksinomaan pähkinänsyönnistäni vaan isoista vauvanposkistani. Niin paljon kun haluaisinkin korkeat poskipäät, ei niitä minulle ole suotu ja lapsenkasvoiset poskeni pullottavat kuin maaoravalla, joka on hamstrannut pähkinöitä talven varalle.

En syö karkkia enkä karkkimaisia suklaapatukoita kuten Mars ja Snickers, en pidä niistä. Suklaata rakastan, mutta sen pitää olla kunnon suklaata ilman ylimääräisiä kommervenkkeja. Paheeni on jäätelö, rakastan Ben&Jerryn Karamel Sutra jäätelöä, jossa on 4cm paksuinen karamellisisus. Ystäväni synnytys alkoi hänen tyhjennettyään kyseisen purkin yksinään. Lääkäriystäväni totesikin, että vauva lienee seonnut sokerihöyryistä ja päätti tulla ulos ja äkkiä ennen kuin saa lisää Karamel Sutraa!

Illallinen on minulle nautinto usein kera lasillisen viiniä. Illalliseksi syömme yleensä. joko risottoa, pastaa, Thaicurria tai täyttävää salaattia lihan tai kalan kanssa. Syömme keskieurooppalaiseen aikaan klo 19-20, joten haluan ruoan olevan hiilihydraattista ja täyttävää, jotta nukun hyvin. En välttele vaalea jauhoa, päinvastoin rakastan sitä enkä juuri välitä rukiista, ohrasta tai täysjyvätuotteista. Olenkin varsin epätavallinen suomalainen, sillä en pidä ruisleiästä ellei se ole makeaa saaristolaisleipää. Suosikkini on tavallinen ranskalainen juureen tehty artisaanipatonki hyvälaatuiseen oliiviöljyyn dipattuna -jam. Käytän oliiviöljyä paljon ja kannan sitä pulloittain kaupasta kotiin. Kermaa en tyttäreni allergioiden vuoksi ole vähään aikaa käyttänyt, mutta normaalisti kyllä. Käytän kermaa kohtuudella ja lisään sitä kastikkeisiin maun pehemennykseksi ja tasapainottamiseksi. Ruokatottumukseni ovatkin ehkä varsin sopivassa määrin yhdistelmä mannermaista ja pohjoismaista keittiötä.

Parisian chic -Pariisilaista tyyliä

One day the other week I just got the feeling that my wardrobe is full of boring mama clothes, practical shirts and flat shoes. I thought I needed something a bit more elegant and stylish. So I went for shopping with my little baby girl. She is usually a good shopping buddy -I need to teach her the enjoyment of fashion straight from birth 🙂

I guess after turning to 30 last summer I started to feel that I really have to pay more attention to my clothes. I wish to look elegant and classic not girly. I already get asked IDs every time I buy a bottle of wine here in the UK. I also get told by older English ladies how to take care of my baby. This happens everywhere I go whether being on the bus, on the street or in the store.  Usually they are commenting on my baby’s clothes saying how my baby is ”overheating” and has too many clothes on. Personally I know this is a cultural difference. As a Finn I want to dress my baby warmly so that she has a lovely cuddly warm layer on her to sleep better. Brits are a bit different with their babies . The babies here have no gloves and their noses are always runny, this was in fact noted in one Finnish article lately. There is no right way of doing things but with the baby dressing I am a Finn from top to toes. Anyway, I think I get so many advice due to my baby face. Those elder British ladies probably think ”oh poor young girl with the baby and does not know what to do with her”… so maybe it is time for change.

My favourite high street stores in London are River Island and Banana Republic. They have stylish and well fitting clothes. If I want to buy nice looking but super comfortable shoes I will always go for Clarks or Nine West.

Toissa viikolla tuli yksi päivä vain sellainen olo, että vaatekaappini on ainoastaan täynnä tylsiä ja käytännöllisiä äiti-vaatteita ja lättäkenkiä (tietenkään tämä ei ole koko totuus, mutta oikeuttaa ostoksille). Aloin kaipaamaan jotakin eleganttia ja tyylikkäämpää vaatekaappini (ja itseni) koristeeksi. Niinpä lähdin shoppailemaan vauvani kanssa. Hän on yleensä hyvä shoppailukaveri -täytyyhän tytär opettaa alusta saakka muodin maailmaan :)!

Viime kesänä kolmekymmentä täytettyäni alkoi tuntua, että minun tulisi kiinnittää hitusen enemmän huomiota vaatetukseeni. Haluan elegantimpaa ja klassisempaa Paris street style tyyliä tyttömäisten vaatteiden sijaan. Britanniassa viinipulloa ostaessani minulta aina kysytään henkiöllisyystodistus. Lisäksi meninpä sitten kauppaan, kahvilaan tai bussiin, vanhat englantialaisrouvat alkavat neuvoa minulle vauvanhoitoa. Yleensä he varoittelevat vauvani ”ylikuumenemisesta” sillä tyttäreni on puettu lämpimästi. Täällähän lapset kulkevat ilman lämpökerrastoa pakkasellakin, hanskoista ei ole puhettakaan ja lasten nenät valuvat valtoimenaan. kuten eräässä suomalaisessa artikkelissa lähiaikoina todettiin. Puen vauvani lämpimästi, mutta tämä ei johdu siitä etten tietäisi kuinka hoitaa lastani, olen vain päästä jalkopäihin suomalainen ja haluan lapseni olevan lämmin en paleleva. Kulttuuriero tässä asiassa on vain hyvin räikeä.  Joka tapauksessa luulen, että syy näiden brittirouvien asioihini puuttumiseen ovat lapsenkasvoni. Rouvat luultavasti voivottelevat mielessään kuinka tuo poloinen tytön hupakko tuskin tietää lapsenhoidosta ripaustakaan ja kaipaa neuvoja. Ehkä siis tyylini on aika muuttua. Tyttömäisestä olemuksestani huolimatta olen silti hyvin kauhistunut kuinka täällä niin hanakasti kommentoidaan toisten äitiyttä ja lastenhoitoa, Suomessa se olisi merkki tahdittomuudesta ja tiettyjen yksityisyyden rajojen ylittämisesta. Kulttuuriero, se se on.

Päätin siis suunnata ostoksille ja hankkia jotain klassista. Suosikki high street kauppani ovat River Island ja Banana Republic. Niistä löytyy aina tyylikkäitä perusvaatteita. Kenkien suhteen päädyn usein joko Clarkseihin tai Nine Westiin, sillä ne ovat tyylikkäitä mutta aina mukavia jaloissa.

I ended up buying nice shirts from Banana Republic:
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Ostin muutaman kauniin paidan Banana Republicista.

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I also bought a few pairs of nice new shoes.

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Ja muutaman parin kenkiä….

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I was very happy what I found and so was my shopping buddy!

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Minulla oli iloinen shoppailukaveri mukana, joka vahti ostoksiani silmä kovana 🙂

Seuraavaa shoppailukertaa odotellessa…

How to get your baby to take solids? -Kuinka saada vauva syömään kiinteitä ruokia?

Those of you who follow me on Facebook know that I have been struggling to wean my baby for three months now. I will not go into details as it will bore you all. It is enough to mention my baby girl is a fussy eater with the capital F. There were two months that she literally did not take anything and I tried so many lovely things. Due to her allergies (milk, soy, nuts, egg, gluten, coconut, carrot, banana, sesame, pulses…etc…) we have had crazily limited range of foods to choose from which has not made things any easier. My baby girl is not only fussy with flavours but also with textures. In addition to this she is moody and I mean really moody. She is worse than ladies in their menopause. She gets ridiculous tantrums like a two year old, throws herself to the floor, kicks her legs and acts theatrically without any reason. The better side of the coin is that she is intellectually very developed, alert and attentive. She is extremely mobile but slightly hyperactive -like her parents :)- which means she cannot concentrate on sitting down in her highchair for any longer than five minutes. Below you can see my list of things how I got her to eat..eventually. Of course we are still talking about spoonfuls. A huge feed for her is half of the regular size baby food pot which means half of the 125g. Her favourite fruit and berry flavours are pear, blueberry, blueberry-raspberry-lingonberry, rose berry-pear.  So my poor mother has dragged tens of pots from Finland to her as you cannot find pure blueberry puree in the UK. My baby girl’s vegetable favourites are potato-broccoli, potato-parsnip, cauliflower and sweetcorn. Pear and broccoli are perfect as they have a huge iron content. I also recently read an article about white vegetables. The article highlighted that cauliflower should not be overlooked as it is one of the healthiest vegetables and has amazing nutrients and vitamins in it, luckily my fussy baby likes it!

Before you start reading this I want to highlight that I am very much pro breastfeeding. I find myself belonging to the school of though that believes ”boob is the best”. I was dreaming of breastfeeding until my baby was one year old. I encourage breastfeeding on demand, I have never looked at the clock and thought ”my baby cannot be hungry”. I have always fed her whenever she has asked for it (this is why I woke up hourly for months and months..). So when I decided to quit breastfeeding it was mainly due to my baby’s allergies and bad excema. It was a difficult decision and I shed many tears for it feeling like I failed as a mother. During the first few weeks of formula feeding my bad mother syndrome got just worse and worse until I got over it. In the end I just felt I had no choice. Despite how carefully I looked at what I ate, my baby girl’s skin and tummy just reacted badly all the time. Now when she is on formula (special formula Nutramigen in which milk protein has been broken down) her skin has cleaned and she is pretty much all smiles. We were recently discharged from the special excema care and she is happier than ever which for me is more important than my ideal of breastfeeding. She has also finally started to sleep peacefully during the day. Now when I look back I almost think that the reason why I carried on breastfeeding after 6 months was not only that I thought it was best for her, I also did it for myself thinking selfishly that I would be somehow a better mother. I know it is naive, but I think this is quite typical for new mothers with their first child. What I have learned is that sometimes you have to forgive yourself and let your ideals go in order to gain something more profound and better.

Here you can see what helped me with my baby:

1. Starting mixed feeding changed my baby girl’s eating drastically. I started giving bottles during the day time (she was 7 1/2 months old) and I breastfed only at the night time. Suddenly she started eating during the day time as the breast was not available every minute. In fact she forgot breastfeeding and is hardly interested in it anymore so in the end the quitting of breastfeeding happened quite easily after she started to take bottles (it was a fight at first!!).  If you feel like you could do this I would say it is not a bad option.

2. Smooth purees. My baby girl was so fussy with the textures that if there was even one lump in it she spitted it all out. The food processor that saved my life was Tommy Tippee Explora Baby Food Blender. It was only £20 (now in fact even cheaper) and it makes the smoothest and creamiest puree textures ever! My baby girl loves those purees now. After your baby is bigger you can leave the purees lumpier. This is a very good blender so definitely worth every penny!

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3. Books and toys. Some people would say this is malpractice and that babies should not be taught to think eating time is play time. I can only comment on this by saying that you don’t care about good practice as long as your baby starts eating. I bought books that had textures on them hairy or scrubbily spots to touch, feel and experience and whilst she was discovering the book I scooped spoonfuls into her mouth. Works these days every time!

4. Distraction. If your baby gets tantrum and starts crying whilst putting her to highchair distract her with something unusual,  a new noise works quite often. I do drumming noises or I knock the table and suddenly the crying stops and she cannot even remember why she was crying. After the distraction you can finally start feeding her.

5. Timing. It is all about timing. If your baby is cranky (unless hunger crankiness) , don’t even try to feed her. If she is a fussy eater she needs to be cheerful in order to discover new food and flavours. Try different meal plans. Try Central European 3 meals plus snack a day, if that does not work for you, try Northern European 4 meals plus snack a day. For my baby girl who is very petite the English meal planner just did not work, the Finnish guidelines  have been the best. My baby could not possibly drink 210ml of formula in one go she would have popped as she has been exclusively breastfed so far and her tummy is a lot smaller than that of formula fed babies. By spreading meals and giving smaller portions in one go she felt better and she actually started eating more overall and what matters is overall, not one meal. So try smaller portions often. Don’t look at the clock, try to offer her food when she is cheerful and willing to experience new things.

Our sample day is:

07-07.30am breakfast: porridge with fruit or berry puree and 120ml formula

10-11am lunch: vegetable puree and 120ml formula (potato-broccoli,  potato-parsnip or cauliflower)

1.30-2.30pm snack: fruit or berry puree and 120ml formula (pear, blueberry or blueberry raspberry puree)

4-5pm dinner: vegetable puree and 120ml formula (potato-broccoli,  potato-parsnip or cauliflower)

6.30-7pm  supper: porridge with berry or fruit puree (and sometimes a tiny bit of formula)

7-7.30pm 150ml formula

01-02am 120ml formula

6. Good spoon. You need a really good spoon as you don’t want all the food to fall down or dribble out from her mouth. I found that OXO Tot Travel spoon has been super good. It is deep enough, the shape is good and with it I find it easy to stuff food into my baby’s mouth. She seem to like it too. This spoon comes also with a handy travel pack. At least John Lewis sells them in the UK.

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7. Patience. Babies can take a long time to taste and feel the food in their mouths. In the beginning our eating sessions took 20-30 minutes (long sessions do not work anymore). Try small amounts often if longer feeds don’t work for you. It feels like you are offering the food constantly but it does not matter as long as she takes some. I was a way too petty about feeding solids with the clock. In the beginning of weaning process it does not work, fussy eaters eat only when they are happy.

8. Sleep. I noticed that my baby started eating better if she slept better during the day time. Particularly after the naps she was very inclined to take solids and happily experience new flavours. For 8 months my baby hardly slept regularly. Between 6-8 months she stopped sleeping all together. She was cranky, frustrated and tired all the time but she did not understand to go to sleep. She fought back and just refused to sleep when she was put down. Of course this was related to her allergies as she was just feeling unwell and could not relax as she was scratching herself all the time. By establishing or even trying to establish a nap schedule will ease the weaning. My baby takes solids very happily right after her long day time nap which is usually between 10am and 12 or 1 pm.

9. Pep talk! Give yourself a good old fashioned pep talk. Imagine of coaching a rugby team. You can do it, you can do it, you can do it. Don’t give up. My GP gave me the biggest pep talk ever when I visited her tears in my eyes. She told me not to give up as ” if you give up now, next comes TV watching, then home works and then boyfriends!”. Be disciplined and strict but kind and patient. It is tough, I know, I have been going through this for almost four months now. It will change just do not give up.

10. Age. If none of my tips works I comfort myself by saying every baby learns to eat within the time. Some are slower, some love food immediately. My baby girl has not gotten teeth yet and she is almost eight and half months old. I see teething having a natural relationship to their ability to eat. If the baby does not have any teeth how could she possibly feel ready for chewing things, no she is not ready, she needs more time. Many people have told me when the teeth appear, taking solids takes a new turn. Whilst waiting for the first tooth, I keep on giving myself pep talks.

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Good luck!