As a mum of three young children, Holly Willoughby has experienced all the joys, frustrations and tears that come with being a busy working mother.
And while the TV presenter doesn’t claim to be a trained childcare expert, after having successfully battled through the early years with her children, she wants to share her hands-on expertise of childrearing with other parents.
So she’s written a new parenting guide, Truly Happy Baby... It Worked For Me, packed with her own candid experiences of, and practical tips on, everything from feeding and sleeping to looking after yourself.
“I know from first-hand experience with my three babies that one-size-fits-all parenting doesn’t work,” writes Willoughby. “So this book is to help parents find out what will work for them and their baby. I’ve included all the information and friendly advice I wish I’d been given before I became a mum for the first time, alongside the routines, short-cuts and tips that worked for me.”
Willoughby, 35, whose children are Harry, seven, Belle, five, and Chester, 21 months, says she hopes her book will empower new mothers to trust their own “mummy intuition” and confidently look after their children in their own way during the year after birth.
“We all have that intuition, we just need to learn to tune into it.”
The former Celebrity Mum of the Year, who’s married to TV producer Dan Baldwin, says all three of her babies were very different - the first, Harry, was a “fairly straightforward” baby, while Belle was nearly six-weeks premature, and little Chester had terrible tongue-tie and reflux.
Willoughby says that while she had no problems breastfeeding Harry, she was happy to ‘top him up’ with formula so they could both get some sleep. Belle was successfully breastfed too, but Willoughby had problems breastfeeding Chester, and admits: “I soon realised that sometimes, no matter how hard you try, it doesn’t work out.”
So her youngest son was bottle-fed expressed breast milk, and then formula. She stresses that mums should feed however they’re most comfortable, and shouldn’t feel guilty if breastfeeding doesn’t work out, as it didn’t for Chester.
The book contains advice on all aspects of breastfeeding - checked, like all the other advice in the book, by medical professionals - and also outlines reasons new mums may choose to switch to formula.
There is also advice on sleeping and wellbeing - for mum and baby. She recalls seeing Tess Daly and Vernoon Kaye looking round the maternity unit and inviting them to see the her new baby, it took her husband to say it wasn’t such a good idea as she was still being stiched up from the birth,
Truly Happy Baby: It Worked For Me by Holly Willoughby is published by Harper Collins, £16.99.