christmas came early

baking gingerbread cookiesbaking gingerbread cookiesbaking gingerbread cookiesbaking gingerbread cookiesbaking gingerbread cookiesbaking gingerbread cookiesbaking gingerbread cookiesbaking gingerbread cookiesbaking gingerbread cookiesbaking gingerbread cookiesbaking gingerbread cookiesbaking gingerbread cookiesbaking gingerbread cookiesbaking gingerbread cookiesbaking gingerbread cookiesbaking gingerbread cookiesbaking gingerbread cookiesbaking gingerbread cookiesbaking gingerbread cookiesbaking gingerbread cookiesbaking gingerbread cookiesbaking gingerbread cookiesbaking gingerbread cookiesbaking gingerbread cookiesbaking gingerbread cookiesbaking gingerbread cookiesbaking gingerbread cookiesbaking gingerbread cookiesbaking gingerbread cookiesWell, it’s no secret that I’m a little crazy about Christmas. We’ve usually been pretty early about getting our tree and decorations up, but this year we started reeeeeeeeally early. That’s partially due to the fact that we’ll have a little newborn with us in about a week and I don’t want to be putting up the decorations when I’d rather be snuggling, but I also don’t want to wait until like… the middle of December to put them up, either. I mean, who does that????  But I think it’s also because I’m just so excited for the holiday season now that Hadley is at an age where she can start to take part in the activities and traditions that make Christmas so much fun.

Friday night after we put Hadley to bed we pulled out the Christmas decorations and I put up the tree while watching Elf, as I do every year. I put up a few more decorations around the house, but I think I actually kept it kind of under control this year and I didn’t even put out all the decorations we have. Henry was a bit shocked, to say the least.

Saturday morning when Hadley woke up she got to see the beautiful tree and was so interested to look at the different ornaments and lights. It was so adorable to watch. I don’t know how long the bottom half of the tree will be decorated for, but right now it looks pretty amazing, if I do say so myself. We then put on the Charlie Brown Christmas Special and snuggled on the couch eating breakfast, followed by making dough for gingerbread cookies and Hadley eating handfuls of flour… weirdo. Hadley had a nap, mama got some work done, and when she woke we rolled out the dough and baked the cookies, possibly eating more dough than what actually ended up as cookies.

Here’s our favourite recipe for gingerbread cookies. We like ’em spicy, so you may want to cut back if you like a milder flavoured cookie, but for us they are the best.

1/2 cup butter // voi
1/2 cup sugar // sokeri
1/2 cup molasses // tumma siirappi
1 egg yolk // munan keltuainen
2 cups all-purpose flour // vehnäjauho
1/2 teaspoon salt // suola
1/2 teaspoon baking powder // leivinjauhe
1/2 teaspoon baking soda // ruokasooda
1 teaspoon cinnamon // kaneli
1 teaspoon cloves // neilikka
1 teaspoon ginger // inkivääri
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg // muskottipähkinä
1/2 teaspoon allspice // maustepippuri

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Stir in molasses and egg yolk. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg in a separate bowl; blend into the molasses mixture until smooth. Cover, and chill for at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 350° F (175° C). On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges just begin to brown. Let them sit on the hot tray for a few minutes before transferring to another surface to cool completely. When cooled, decorate and eat.

packing my hospital bag // c section hospital bag

In the last bit of pregnancy our hormones kick into overdrive and we do this thing called “nesting” where doing stuff that we usually hate (cleaning, laundry, organising, etc.) suddenly become the most enjoyable tasks in the world because we are doing them to make a place for the baby. The crown jewel of nesting activities has got to be packing your hospital bag. Here you get to show off how smart and prepared you are for your new little bundle of joy, how you know exactly what you need to bring to make you, the baby, and your partner as comfortable as you can possibly be in the most life-changing, earth-rattling experience of your life. I may be poking fun at the whole thing, but in all truth it is actually a really enjoyable thing to do. And having done this once already, I’ve got a better idea of what was actually useful and what wasn’t, and also what I wished I would have brought with me.

Note: Some of these items may be specific to Finnish hospitals. I also know that I will be having a c-section, so that may be reflected in some of the things I do or don’t bring.

For Mama

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  • Flip flops and/or slippers, depending on your usual temperature. I was advised to bring slippers last time, but my feel got way too hot and I was super uncomfortable every time I had to put them on. I’m definitely just bringing a pair of flip flops this time around.
  • Disposable nursing pads. I was hoping to use reusable nursing pads with Hadley, but I just hated the cold wet feeling they got when they had even a little bit of milk in them, and I found I had to be changing them so frequently I just got really annoyed. Regardless of what you’re going to use long-term, unless you’re planning to bring a wet bag or something to store your wet reusable pads in and wash them once you’re home (waaaay too much work for me after just having a baby) disposables are the way to go when at the hospital.
  • A nursing bra. I brought two last time thinking that if one got wet it would be nice to have another, but really your milk supply is just building those first few days, so as long as you have nursing pads, you should be just fine with one.
  • Belly Bandit. I bought one this time around after regretting not having one for after Hadley’s delivery. For one, I’m all for losing the belly as quickly as possible, but also I’ve heard from many people that belly binders offer great abdominal support after having a c-section, which is what I’ll be having. I know there’s a chance I may not be able to fit into it while still in the hospital, but I’d like to have it with my in case it does fit.
  • Robe(s). I bought a nice hospital gown from Etsy for my delivery with Hadley. But in the end I found it was quite long and difficult to manage. It had buttons that went quite low for easy breastfeeding, but the buttons themselves were quite a pain when I really just needed to get quick and easy access to my boobs. I looked around to buy a robe to bring with me but came up short, everything in lighter weight fabrics seemed too short to be walking around in the hospital with (especially since I’m tall, so things seem even shorter) and any that I found at appropriate lengths were made of warm fuzzy material that I know would make me way too hot and uncomfortable. So I made myself a robe from a pattern I bought from Etsy and I think that it will be a much more comfortable alternative. If I have time and find more fabric I think is suitable I may even make another.
  • Black maxi nursing dress. One of the best purchases I’ve made during this pregnancy was this maxi dress from asos that is also a nursing dress. I wore it all summer long and it was the most comfortable thing, but it’s really just a flowy maxi that can totally remain a part of your wardrobe once you lose your belly. The fabric is not sheer at all like I’ve found other maxi dresses I’ve bought to be, and the quick access to your boobs is a major plus. I wouldn’t really think about bringing a dress that wasn’t black as blood could leak onto it, but I know that it wouldn’t show with the fabric of this dress and then I can have something other than a robe to wear. If I was having Aslan in a warmer month I would totally make this my going home outfit. But I think I’m going to need some pants and my big winter coat.
  • Going home outfit. I’ll be bringing my mother tucker leggings and a stretchy, comfy shirt. That’s it. And socks. Note to self, remember socks.
  • Makeup and travel sized toiletries. I did do my makeup when I was in the hospital with Hadley. I really wanted to be in photos but felt like I looked like a train wreck. It may be petty, but I felt happier to be in photos with even a little makeup on, so I’m bringing it with me again. I’m not going to go crazy with the toiletries – this ain’t a spa trip. Shampoo, conditioner, soap, face wash, moisturiser and toothpaste. Oh, maybe some dry shampoo. Yeah, definitely some dry shampoo. Oh, and do yourself a favour and pack a new toothbrush in your bag. If you forget yours when your rushing out the door you’re going to be suuuper disappointed when you realise you don’t have it with you.
  • A handheld mirror. I guess this one is kind of c section specific. The morning after my section with Hadley I wanted to put some makeup on but was still completely bed-bound. The only mirror I had in my makeup bad was about 2 inches in diameter and made it really difficult to get my makeup on with any degree of accuracy. I like this one that I found because it can change from being a handheld mirror to a small tabletop mirror, and it has magnification on the reverse side. And it was 3€.
  • Water bottle. The best way to get that milk coming is to drink like a mad woman.
  • Camera, computer, phone, and ipad. The camera is (especially for me) the most important one. I’m only bringing my computer so that I can edit a couple photos and send them out, but I think most people wouldn’t need to bring their computer with them. The phone so I can send and answer messages. The ipad for the off-chance that I have time to kill and I’m not using it staring at my baby or sleeping.
  • Hair elastics and clips.
  • Snacks. Granola bars, protein bars, nuts, dried fruit. Grab some fresh fruit on your way out the door if you can remember, or send your guy out for it later.
  • Vitamins/Supplements. I’ll bring my multi vitamins, fenugreek seed supplement and iron capsules. I have a tendency for low iron levels and have needed to take supplements in the last weeks of pregnancy for Hadley and now again for Aslan. Since I already know this, plus I will obviously have blood loss from the surgery, I will continue to take my iron supplement after Aslan is here so I don’t become anaemic.
  • Mother milk tea. Gotta get that milk going.
  • Peppermint tea. Really good for relieving gas, which can be quite painful when recovering from a c section.
  • Lanolin. I do remember them supplying lanolin samples that were enough to get me through my hospital stay, but just incase that’s changed I’ve bought my own tube and I’ll bring that with me. Cracked nipples are the worst.
  • Baby wipes. These are actually for me since I use them to take off my makeup. Also to clean up after my toddler who will surely be at the hospital at least intermittently. However, they don’t supply wipes at the hospitals in Finland so if you want to use wipes instead of washing your baby’s bum in the sink you should bring your own.
  • Nursing pillow. I didn’t bring mine last time and wished I had. You’re likely going to be doing a lot of nursing while in the hospital, so you may as well be comfortable doing it.
  • Arnica Montana. This homeopathic remedy is well known for it’s treatment of trauma and bruising, so it’s really a must for c-section mamas. But it’s not just for c-section mama’s, regular delivery is just as traumatic on your body as surgery is and taking Arnica throughout labour can be very beneficial.
  • Phytolacca. This homeopathic remedy is great for breastfeeding issues. It is known to be used for treating mastitis and sore, swollen, and/or cracked nipples. All of which I remember vividly from breastfeeding Hadley.
  • Staphysagria. This is possibly the most recommended homeopathic remedy after a c-section. It helps healing of deep wounds especially to the abdomen and female reproductive system.
  • Bellis Perennis. This homeopathic remedy is useful when bruising and trauma occur to deep internal tissues after surgery involving the abdomen, breasts, or trunk.

For Aslan

c section hospital bagc section hospital bag

  • 3 bodies, 3 pants, 3 sleepers, socks, hats + booties. I’m bringing a decent amount of clothing for Aslan with me since I’ll be having a c-section and don’t know how many days I will be in the hospital for. Of course, the hospital does provide clothing for baby, but I much prefer to bring items from home that I love.
  • Swaddle Pod
  • Receiving blankets. Babys puke, it’s just a fact.
  • Scratch mittens. Hadley nearly dug her eyeballs out when she was a newborn, so we’ve stocked up on scratch mittens and onesies with the fold over sleeves.
  • Soother/Pacifier. I don’t know if I will offer Aslan a soother right away or not, with Hadley I wanted to at least wait until I had breastfeeding well established before giving her a soother, but every child is different so I’m bringing one just in case.
  • Bear suit. Finland is cold in November, so we need to have something nice and warm to put on Aslan to bring him home. I went a little overkill on trying to keep Hadley warm when we brought her home from the hospital in the winter. My mom had to convince me she was going to overheat if I put that sheepskin on top of the 5 blankets she was already lost under.
  • Car seat. Obviously…

For Hadley (Big Sister)

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  • Big sister gift. We bought her a bunch of little people animals which I hope will put a huge smile on her face and keep her occupied for a little while.
  • Books. I took three of her favourites and have had them in my bag since the end of October, so she will be happy to see these again and have some quite moments reading with whoever is watching her.
  • Sticker Album. Stickers are a new concept for Hadley, but I think it could be a good way to keep her occupied while sitting.
  • Colouring book and pencils.
  • Pull-along toy. To get her moving and give her an activity were she can walk up and down the halls.
  • iPad, stocked with lots of episodes of Bubble Guppies and Paw Patrol.
  • Snacks. Endless snacks. And juice boxes.

For Henry (Dad)

c section hospital bag

  • Whatever the heck he decides to pack for himself. He’s a big boy.  Underwear. At least make sure he has a change of underwear.
  • Snacks. He’ll appreciate having a few of his favourite munchies on hand.

Don’t Bring

  • Maxi Pads. The hospital supplies pads, along with those horrifying but really useful mesh panties. Steal as many of those things as you can. Also, don’t bring underwear, they’ll just get ruined. Again I say, mesh panties.
  • Diapers. Unless you’re super picky about the kind of diapers used from day 1, there will be diapers at the hospital. You don’t need to bring any. In Finland they supply Libero diapers, if you were wondering.
  • Razor. Really? This is something I’ve seen in many other ‘hospital bag’ blog posts. Are you really considering shaving your legs in the hospital?

So there you have it. The big long list of stuff I’ve got in my hospital bag. I know it seems like a lot but I’m an efficient packer and really I’d rather have anything that I think will be useful, instead of packing light just for the sake of not having a heavy bag. I did put Hadley’s stuff in a separate backpack that whoever is watching her will have with them. The little bit that I packed for Henry is in my bag with mine and Aslan’s stuff.

What are some things you put in your hospital bag? Is there something c section specific that you swear by? I’d love to know!

feeling thankful


This past weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving. In the past few years since we’ve been living in Finland we haven’t really done anything special to celebrate, but then every year I’d look through my facebook feed and see everyone gathering together with their families and feel like I was missing out, big time. So we decided to celebrate this year, made a big dinner and invite over some friends that we are thankful for. I am so so so glad we did.

As we went around the table during dinner talking about what we were thankful for, I realised that there was no way I could possibly cover all that I had to be grateful for in a reasonable amount of time. I’ve got this circus that we call family here around me. My husband who is an incredibly hard worker and the most amazing father. My baby girl who is less and less a baby every single day. This little guy who has not yet joined us but is making his presence known every day, especially when I’m trying to sleep. Our two snuggle pups who are such a wonderful part of our family and will turn into great friends for our children.

I’m thankful for our home, and all the unexpected ways it has been so perfect for us since moving to Tampere. I’m thankful for my job, which most days doesn’t even feel like a job. I’m thankful for the amazing friends I’m surrounded with, near and far. I’m thankful that my mama will be joining us here in Finland to welcome Aslan into the world. I’m thankful, I’m thankful, I’m thankful…

I don’t think I could really even cover here in a reasonable amount of time all of my gratitude for the blessings God has given me. Long story short, I’m a lucky girl. And I should take stock of these things on a much more regular basis.

october feels


Fall has a special place in my heart. I don’t believe that anywhere in the world experiences a fall as beautiful as Ontario, and I am so very thankful to have grown up in it. Nothing is prettier than maple trees (which we’ve got in abundance) turning colour. Nothing makes you feel more a part of the season than apple picking, going to a pumpkin patch, or getting lost in a corn maze. The temperature is perfect and, most years, it doesn’t rain too much that you can’t spend most days outside enjoying this crazy beautiful season. All that said, it’s hard being away from home in October. All that beauty, all those memories. Not being with my family during (Canadian) Thanksgiving isn’t much fun either. Fall in Finland really is okay. The leaves do change colours and there’s certainly some fall activities, but nothing like at home. That’s hard for me, especially now having Hadley.

I want to take her to all these activities that have always made fall so wonderful for me. Unfortunately, living in Finland, a lot of these activities that are available in almost every town in Ontario are difficult to come by here. A few nights ago I actually got quite upset about this. We had a free Saturday coming up and no clue as to how to fill it and most of my own ideas about how to spend a Saturday in October were nixed due to unavailability. I later talked to a good friend about this and she agreed that those kinds of activities would be so awesome to have here, and surely if we searched hard enough we could find something, somewhere. Searching these things out is a bit of a difficult task for me with the language barrier, but with a partner in crime I have much higher hopes. We will make this fall memorable.

Nevertheless, I have been doing my all to bring fall into our home. Hadley and I collected some maple leaves and hung them up to display their pretty colours. I baked pumpkin bread, hoping to have something yummy on hand for friends who might stop by for coffee, but Henry and I devoured it faster than I could invite anyone over. I guess I’ll have to make some more. And even if there’s not any (currently known) spots where we can spend an afternoon picking apples and pumpkins for ourselves, the grocery stores are starting to have a better selection of fall produce and so we’ve been filling our meals with seasonal flavours. I’ve also started baking home made granola bars, because the stash that I brought with me from Canada this summer is dwindling at an impeccable rate now that Hadley is also eating them. And tea. Endless cups of Tim Horton’s pumpkin spice tea.

Other than trying to find ways to occupy our afternoons and enjoy the season, we’re using this month to do all of our remaining preparations before we turn into a family of four. We’re redecorating Hadley’s room and the pile of items that will fill the new shared kids’ room is waiting for a free afternoon when we can put the shelves back up and get everything put back together. I made a mobile to hang above Aslan’s cradle and while it’s quite simple, I really love it and think it will go so well with the new decorations. We’re crossing off items that have been on our to-do list for way too long. We’re investing in a few home appliances to make the days a bit easier. I don’t know if I will ever feel like we are completely “ready” for Aslan’s arrival, though. Not because we aren’t desperate to meet him, but simply because neither Henry or I can truly picture how much our family is going to change once he’s here.

This weekend is Thanksgiving in Canada and so tomorrow we’ll be celebrating by having a turkey dinner with some good friends. I’ve spent this afternoon doing as much of the food preparations as I can and I’ll be up bright and early tomorrow to continue. I really can’t wait. Thanksgiving is such a wonderful holiday and I’m glad that we still choose to celebrate it here, even if the rest of Finland doesn’t.

For those of you who are living here in Finland, what are some of your favourite fall activities? Is there something you do, or somewhere you go every year that just makes the season more special? I’d love to know!

33 weeks and waiting


It is amazing to me how fluid and malleable time has become. Often it slips away without notice, but if you truly want you can make every moment count for something spectacular. In about 6 weeks we’ll be a family of four. I’ll have Aslan in my arms and Hadley clinging to my legs. I’ll have my precious little lion man, not yet grown into his name, and my wild and fearless girl terrifying me with how fast she’s growing.

I’m currently on the express train for full-blown nesting mode, and I’m not even going to try to resist it. Today we’ll go pick up our double stroller from the store and both mine and Henry’s denial of the fact that we will be a double stroller pushing, “family” car driving, crock-pot loving, frazzled set of parents will inevitably have to end. But I will be glad to have checked the last big item off of our list of things we need to get before Aslan’s arrival, and I can focus on finishing up the work that I have left to do and preparing our home for the change that’s about to take place. I’ve got to finish writing out my birth plan, make preparations for those who will be caring for Hadley and the dogs while we’re in the hospital, pack a hospital bag, etc. I should also do a bit more deep-cleaning of our home, but we’ll see if I actually get around to that. Probably not.

We’re doing some redecorating in Hadley’s room to turn it into a more neutral space that they can both grow into and share for as long as we’re here. I’ve collected most of the items needed for their new, shared space, so it’s just a matter of putting things back into place after they’ve been a bit dissembled. I want to do it all at once so it has more of an effect than just changing an item or two at a time. I’m soooo excited to see it all put together and to share it with you!

I’m feeling really good. Needing to exercise more, fore sure, but I find getting through my daily tasks eats up pretty much all of the energy I’ve got and I just can’t push myself to fit in a workout after such long days. I think chasing Hadley around has kept me in relatively good condition, though I’d like to strengthen my arms and legs while I’ve still got a bit of time, to help me out when my core is temporarily out of order after the c-section. I find that by now most people around me are really starting to treat me like I’m pregnant, but while their thoughtfulness is amazing, I’m generally quite okay to do most things for myself. I wouldn’t mind being a treated a bit more “pregnant” by Henry, but he can clearly see how capable I am and I can’t seem to fool him into thinking otherwise. Oh well. I’ll rub my own feet and make my own tea.   : )

With both pregnancies, I’ve personally found it really important to pick a name for the baby quite early. And while it took us some time to find a name that was just perfect for our little guy, I have enjoyed SO much what having a name has done to my bond with him already. It’s so true when people say that your second pregnancy will fly past and you won’t have the time to be thinking about it constantly. I don’t just sit down and think about him like I did when I was pregnant with Hadley. I don’t go for walks alone just to think about what life with him will be like. I haven’t kept any sort of journal or taken weekly belly pictures. But whenever he moves, and I say his name to myself, I find that his name is so loaded with promise that it knocks me back a little. Aslan. My little lion man. When I hear his name I feel like he will be strong and brave. When I hear his name I trust that he will grow into a mighty man of God. When I hear his name I believe he will do something great with his life. And that’s all it takes, to hear his name, to know that his life is already planned out by the King.

When I had a baby shower with my friends and family in Canada, my mom made me a really beautiful card to go with her gift, and in the card she had chosen three quotes from Narnia that nearly make me cry every times I read them.

“They call him Aslan in That Place,” said Eustace.
“What a curious name!”
“Not half so curious as himself,”
― C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

“I am [in your world].’ said Aslan. ‘But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

And one more which I’ve found on my own that sums up all I truly want for my little guy.

“But courage, child: we are all between the paws of the true Aslan.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle

We’re waiting for you, baby. We cannot wait to meet you.

increasing breast milk supply // natural galactagogues

natural galactagoguesLet’s talk galactagogues. What the heck is a galactagogue??? It’s food, herb, or supplement that aids in breast milk production. I only learned that word really recently, so if you’d never even heard it before, I’m not any smarter than you. If you have heard it before, you probably know a whole lot more about your boobs than I do, but hopefully there’s still something for you here.

When I was pregnant with Hadley I was dead set on breastfeeding. I had certainly heard of women who “couldn’t breastfeed”, but in all honesty I wasn’t really sold on that. I figured that’s what our bodies were meant to do, so maybe they just called it quits too early? I was a first time expectant mother and I was as naïve as I could be. Then my own milk didn’t come in fast enough to feed my 4kg baby and she dropped weight at an alarming rate. I was told I had to give her formula, or they would hospitalise her and give her formula anyway. I lost. My baby was less than 5 days old and I already felt like I had failed. Now, I did fight reeeeeeally hard to get her back to exclusive breastfeeding. It took a while and more will power than I thought I had in me, but when she was a few months old she was off formula completely. She was still a really hungry baby and eventually we were advised to start giving her formula before bed after she had already finished breastfeeding. I was happy that she was getting the main source of her nutrition from me, but getting the calories she still needed elsewhere.

At around 8 months, Hadley completely lost interest in breastfeeding. She could not sit still. She rolled, laughed, played, and joked around but would not eat when it was time to. She was a girl on the go and just would not sit still long enough to breastfeed. I didn’t give up though. I went out and bought an electric pump and sat and milked myself as often as possible to still make sure even half of her bottles were breast milk. It sucked, to be honest, but I’m stubborn and I desperately wanted her to have breast milk a little longer. Eventually finding enough time to sit and pump became difficult and my supply started to dwindle. I was coming to the end of my breastfeeding journey with Hadley and while I thought I may feel sad about it, in all honesty I just felt tired. And kind of relieved.

Now, as I wait for Aslan to arrive, I find myself starting to look forward to having a second chance at breastfeeding. There were definitely moments when feeding Hadley that were so special, and I’m grateful that those seem to be the memories I’m holding on to. But this being my second rodeo, I know that my body doesn’t just produce an excess of milk without me even trying. I know that if I want to do a “better” job breastfeeding this time I’ve got to be diligent in caring for my body and giving it what it needs to make milk. I’ve been doing lots of research about galactagogues and have gathered what I feel are the best aids for milk production that are available to me.

Now, I’m not a doctor, a lactation consultant, or any other health care professional. I’m just a mom who stayed up way too late a few nights, pouring over articles on how to make your boobs work. Take it or leave it, this is what I’ve found.


This one is (should be) a no brainer. Our bodies just need water. A lot of it. And most of us, unfortunately, do not drink enough of it on a daily basis. But when you’re breastfeeding, the need for sufficient water intake is so much more important. You need fluids in your body to produce milk. That’s the bottom line. On top of all the liquid that is required to produce an adequate supply of milk for your baby, you still need to have enough water to help the rest of your body function properly. When you wake up in the morning, you should be more or less chugging water – it will help wake your body up and start functioning optimally as soon as possible. And every time you sit down to breastfeed you should also be drinking a good amount of water. If you make a general rule for yourself that milk doesn’t go out without water also coming in, you should be on the right track. So go out, buy yourself a nice new water bottle, and then glue it to your hand. Problem solved.

natural galactagogues

Mother’s Milk Tea

I had heard about various breastfeeding teas when I was pregnant with Hadley and told myself I’d go out and buy some if I felt like I needed to, but then by the time I actually may have needed it I had totally forgotten and never actually bought any. But in my search of good, natural galactagogues I noticed a ton of people recommending tea that was specially formulated to increase breast milk supply, the most common of these being Traditional Medicinals’ Mother’s Milk Tea. Another that was commonly mentioned was Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Milkmaid Tea. So I bought myself 2 boxes of the Mother’s Milk tea to try right from the start. I bought mine from when I was home in Canada this summer. For those of you living here in Finland I know that you can buy both of these from, but they don’t offer free international shipping any more, which is a huge bummer. I’m not sure at the moment if there are suppliers in Finland of either of these teas, but I do know that Ruohonjuuri does carry nursing tea from three different brands: WeledaFrantsila, and Sonnentor. They all tend to contain similar ingredients, so just take a look and the ingredients and proportions of each and decide what you think is best for you.

natural galactogagues

Fenugreek Seed Supplements

Fenugreek is probably the galactagogue which most women notice makes the biggest difference. It can also come in tea form and is a common ingredient in most nursing teas that have a mixture of different herbs. It is believed that the oil contained in the fenugreek seed is what plays the biggest role in boosting milk supply. The easiest way to get the best results from fenugreek is to take it in capsule form. Be aware that you need to take quite a lot of the stuff (2 or 3 capsules, 3 times a day) to really notice the full benefits, but the good news is that all galactagogues are used for increasing milk supply, not maintaining it – except water, you always need water. So once you’re milk supply is up, you can stop taking the supplements and you’re milk supply shouldn’t be reduced any lower than what your baby is putting in orders for. If at any point you feel like your baby isn’t getting enough milk and that your supply can’t keep up with his/her needs, you can take fenugreek again for a little while until you notice an increase and then stop once again. Again, I bought mine from this summer, but Ruohonjuuri does carry capsules from Solgar.

natural galactagogues

Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is a fantastic nutrition source that is sooooo good for breastfeeding mamas. Don’t let the name turn you away. This is an inactive yeast, so it doesn’t froth or grown like baking yeast does. It has a kind of cheesy taste, so it goes well with savoury foods and can be sprinkled on top of many foods for a little cheesy flavour and a big nutrition kick. Some people recommend to sprinkle it on popcorn, which sounds like a good idea to me! Nutritional yeast is also a common ingredient in many recipes for lactation cookies, though I’ve never actually tried to make these myself as (to me) they sound kind of gross. My absolute favourite way to eat nutritional yeast is sprinkled generously on top of whole wheat toast with butter, and a glass of milk on the side. Good carbs, good fats, protein and all those extra vitamins from the yeast. I actually reeeeally love this combo. I eat it even when I’m not breastfeeding because I actually think it tastes good and it’s such an easy but healthy snack. I also found that this was an easy thing to ask Henry to bring to me in those early days after Hadley was born when I’d be stuck on the couch feeding her for forever and I couldn’t get up to make myself any food. Nutritional values for nutritional yeast vary from one manufacturer to another, but they are all generally great sources of fiber, protein (and a complete protein, at that!), vitamins B1 and B2, and packages marked “fortified” often are also good sources of vitamin B12. Some websites also recommend Brewer’s yeast for milk supply, though I’ve never actually tried it myself.

natural galactagogues

Pineapple Juice

While pineapple juice is not really a galactagogue in the sense that it increases supply, it is packed FULL of vitamins which are so important for a breastfeeding mama. But, the real magic of pineapple juice is that it contains high levels of bromelain, a mixture of enzymes extracted from the stems of pineapples which is known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties. While I’m doing my best to block the unpleasant parts of breastfeeding from my mind, the sore, painful, inflamed and swollen boobs of the first few months are not something easily forgotten. Did you know that stress can slow your breast milk production? I’m sure you know that pain and discomfort are causes for increased stress levels. Less stress, more milk, mama! Make sure you buy 100% juice with no sugar added. If possible, buying juice not from concentrate is best, but this is definitely more difficult to come by.

natural galactagogues

Steel Cut Oats

Firstly, I’ll say that all oatmeal is a great aid for milk production. Oatmeal is a good source of iron, and maternal anemia (low iron levels) is a known cause of low milk supply. Steel cut oats (the jar on the left), also sometimes called pinhead oats, irish oats, or coarse oatmeal, are whole oat groats which have been chopped into two or three pieces. They have a bit of a nutty flavour and retain their structure a bit more than instant or rolled oats, so it’s more chewy than mushy when made into porridge. A lot of people stay away from steel cut oats because they have a much longer cooking time than other varieties of oats, but some people claim that there is greater health benefits from steel cut oats verses rolled oats. has a cool infographic stacking up the nutritional values of both varieties. It seems steel cut comes out on top, but just barely. I prefer the taste and structure of steel cut oats, though when I don’t have the patience to cook them I’ll go for the rolled oats. If I’m wanting a treat I’ll eat my oats with butter and brown sugar, but I actually really love heating a bag of mixed frozen berries on the stove and then cooling it off, making a sugar-free jam/soup like thing to put on top of my oatmeal. The antioxidants in the berries are a bonus, too!


The important thing to remember is that breastfeeding is a game of supply and demand. If your baby isn’t making a demand, your body isn’t going to supply the milk. If the demand isn’t there because your baby doesn’t actually need more milk, just trust that you’re making enough and all is good. If a growth spurt comes along your body knows how to compensate for that. If the demand is not there do to poor feeding routine/habits, try to clear your schedule a bit and put some more emphasis on distraction-free nursing time. That may sound silly, especially if you’re expecting your first, but if you’re on the go a lot nursing sessions can become shorter or not as effective if you or the baby is distracted by the surroundings.

Galactagogues are great right after you give birth to help establish good breastfeeding right from the beginning, and they can also be super helpful in those times when you notice your supply is getting a little low, but keep in mind (as I mentioned above when talking about fenugreek seed supplements) that they are not for maintaining your supply. You shouldn’t be dependant on these things to carry you through your entire breastfeeding journey.

All that said (that really did turn into a longer post than I intended) you need to know that supplementing with formula is not the end of the world. It may not be what you want (it isn’t what I wanted, that’s for sure) but what I’ve learned through my own experience and through having really open, honest conversations with moms who have an over-supply of milk and those who just couldn’t establish breastfeeding for various reasons, is that as long as you are doing everything you can for the good of your baby, you’re doing a fantastic job. Breast milk is great for your baby – it’s so nutritious and perfectly formulated for their needs, not to mention you pass on antibodies to your baby to protect them from harmful things in their environment. But if your baby is losing too much weight and you’re struggling to produce milk, neglecting your baby’s need for calories isn’t the smart decision.

So, I hope that you found something helpful here, and that some of the information I’ve gathered can be of use to you, too. Here’s to happy, healthy, stress-free breastfeeding!

our summer in photos // yyteri

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Not long before Hadley and I left for our month in Canada we had one free weekend where we hadn’t made any specific plans to do anything or meet anyone. We had planned it for ourselves, for family time, but then we woke up on Saturday morning and realised that we’d probably just waste the day at home if we didn’t just leave the house and go somewhere, anywhere. I had been talking to Henry about going to Yyteri Beach for quite some time, but unfortunately our schedule just didn’t allow for it earlier in the summer. But here we had the whole day. Free. Let’s go.

We packed ourselves a picnic (we kinda rock at picnics, juuuuust so ya know…) and loaded The Schulman Show (what we call our family when we’re all together, dogs included) and started driving towards Pori. We spent the majority of the day at the portion of the beach designated for dogs, which was actually pretty nice because it wasn’t crowded at all. Hadley ran around with the dogs, swam in the water with Henry while I watched from the shore, camera in hand. The water was pretty cold as it was not a very hot day, but it seems there isn’t much that can keep my little water bug on land.

It’s so fun for me to see Hadley developing favourite activities. Dancing, for sure. Swimming. Soccer. She’s extremely active and I think that once she’s at the age to start organised hobbies we’re not going to know what to put her in. I suppose she’ll tell us, but it’s fun to wonder about the paths she’ll take and which passions are for now and which will stick with her.

Yyteri is such a beautiful beach, it almost doesn’t seem like it belongs in Finland. I know that sounds bad. Finland is beautiful. But to me this beach seems a little misplaced somehow, it’s definitely not the lakeside beaches that are scattered throughout the country. I’m pretty grateful it’s not too too far from where we’re currently living.

our summer in photos // oslo

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I think our trip to Oslo was the first time we really realised that travelling with children is different. Really different. We spent a few days in the city before heading further north in Norway to visit friends and we spent a vast majority of our time catering to Hadley’s needs. Like always, I guess. But after we accepted that our travels would now include more parks and less trendy restaurants, more early mornings and less late nights out, we actually had a really fantastic time.

We visited the Folk Museum, took a ferry to one of the nearby islands, and spent hours on end in the park near where we were staying in Grünerløkka – thank the heavens there is an abundance of good coffee in that neighbourhood.

our summer in photos // a day in the city

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These shots are from June. The summer started off busy and still hasn’t died down, but we managed to find a Saturday when we had no plans and beautiful weather. We spent the day with the whole circus in tow in Helsinki: we went park hopping, I chased H with my camera, we got Fafa’s for lunch and discovered Hadley’s love of falafel, we went out for coffee and our dogs were attention-hogs while we waited for our order (they were welcomed inside the cafe even though Lilu is basically a pony), we grabbed some treats from kauppatori and then finished the day off at the Rajasaari dog park. We all went home exhausted, but happy to have spent the day in each other’s company. I am beyond grateful for days like this – they may be simple, but spending that much time all together is such a luxury in our busy life, and I love love love them.

Oh, well… Hey there!


At the reminder of a close friend, I’ve been SUPER absent from the blog lately. Sorry about that. There has been so so so so much going on lately, and with summer being my busy season for work I’ve completely forgot to keep you all updated. The biggest news (if it wasn’t obvious from the photos above) is that we’re expecting a new baby! We found out this spring and while we’ve definitely been excited about it, I have to say being pregnant with #2 is just sooooo much different than the first go ’round. I don’t really have the time to just sit and think about the new baby all the time. Or take naps whenever I feel exhausted. Or hours to ponder motherhood and how I feel about certain things. I’ve got a kid to feed and clean and entertain…. and probably start potty training for real. I’ve got a house that pretty much explodes every time I turn my back for 5 seconds. I’ve got a business that needs my full-time attention without the full-time hours. I’ve got a mind that I’m trying very very hard not to lose.

But, I’m so very grateful for every one of those things. They make my life and my heart so full. Crazy, but full. Well… maybe I could do without the exploding mess. Yep, I definitely could.

One thing I’ve always loved about blogging is that it’s been a means of processing thoughts. Words just kind of spill out and I get to find out new things about myself as I’m writing them out for you. So, here’s how I’m feeling about the new little that will be joining our family in November:

  • It’s a boy! At the beginning of this pregnancy I was, for various reasons, really hoping for another girl. But God has been doing a huge work in my heart to change that and the day we found out the gender I was truly excited about having a son.
  • Excited though I may be about having a baby boy, I am slightly terrified about being a boy mom. I assume I’ll grow into it, but at the moment I have no idea how this is going to play out. I’m seeing a lot of noise and dirt in my future.
  • We’re naming him Aslan, which after a very long name choosing process we loved the moment we heard it. Using his name already has, to us, given him an identity and made us sooo much more excited about meeting our little lion man.
  • For those who thought girl’s clothes were cuter than boy’s clothes, you’re wrong. I’ve bought so many clothes for him already and I just melt when I see cute little boy clothes in the stores. I also love that with having a boy I don’t have to fight so hard against pink + glitter + ruffles.
  • I am not very pleased about the concept of a double stroller.
  • I have no idea what our trips to Canada are going to be like with two kids so close in age. I have friends who travel with multiple small kids regularly, and I am completely in awe of their superhuman-ness.
  • Aslan is craaaazy active already. He moves way more than I remember Hadley moving. It makes me feel like he knows I don’t have all the time in the world to think about this pregnancy, so he’s there with a helpful kick to the ribs to remind me that he’s there. And my world is about to change yet again.

In one week we’re now heading off to Canada for a month and I get a bit of an extended summer. But so much has happened already and I’ve been really good about taking my camera out as much as possible so I’ve got lots of photos to share with you. I think I’ll try this week to recap our summer so far, though probably more with photos than with words.

Thank you to everyone who comes back to read Vauvasaurus even through our periods of sporadic posting. Thank you to everyone who has sent me emails telling me that they love to read about our family’s adventures and my own ramblings. You guys are the best, really.


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