With just six weeks of her third pregnancy left, two boys under the age of five to look after and a full-on career to contend with, Mother&Baby talks exclusively to Jennifer Ellison about how she manages to juggle it all
But she doesn’t let it faze her. In fact, the Liverpudlian actress is refreshingly down-to-earth about her parenting experiences and incredibly grateful for her current pregnancy, she reveals to M&B writer Alison Coldridge.
The former Dancing On Ice star had resolved herself to the fact that her two sons – Bobby, four, and Harry, one – would be her only children as doctors told her ovarian cysts meant she wouldn’t be able to conceive again.
‘It was a complete shock as obviously I didn’t think I could get pregnant'
‘It was a complete shock as obviously I didn’t think I could get pregnant,’ explained Jennifer, 30. ‘Both Rob [Tickle, her husband] and I are incredibly happy.’
But being pregnant with two small boys running around is pretty exhausting, she confesses. ‘My pregnancy is going great but it’s definitely more tiring [than the previous two] as I’ve got two children to run around after!’
READ: JENNIFER ELLISON REVEALS SURPRISE THIRD PREGNANCY – JUST AS HER LITTLE BOY CELEBRATES HIS FIRST BIRTHDAY
New pregnancy experiences
So, what’s different from her pregnancies with Bobby and Harry? Cravings, Jennifer says. ‘I’ve never really craved anything before, but do you know, this time I’m really craving anchovies – which I’ve never even liked before!’ she says.
The couple has chosen not to find out the sex of their baby, but having already had two sons, Jennifer admits she’s hoping for a third. ‘Obviously I would be happy with a boy or a girl, but I’m hoping for a boy,’ Jennifer admits. ‘I’ve got the two boys already so I’m used to them!’
'Obviously I would be happy with a boy or a girl, but I’m hoping for a boy'
While Harry is too young to understand that he’s got a baby brother or sister on the way, Bobby’s really excited. ‘He was too young to get excited when I was pregnant with Harry but this time round he’s really involved,’ she says. ‘He comes to the scans with me and can’t wait to meet his baby brother or sister.’
Striking a work and home balance
As well as Bobby’s support, Rob is ‘amazing’ says Jennifer – which is a huge help with her full-on work schedule.
Jennifer, who’s a trained dancer, is currently working on the UK version of Dancing for Moms, which will air on Lifetime later this year, and admits it takes up a good deal of her time. Her maternity leave will start in a matter of days. But there’s not much time for relaxing once the baby’s born – filming demands mean that she’s got to get straight back into it.
But in the future, Jennifer plans to be more selective about work. 'I’m going to pick and choose what works for me and my family,’ she says.
So will there be more after baby number three? ‘No – I’m done,’ she says, laughing.
Jennifer’s busy schedule unsurprisingly doesn’t leave her much time to exercise. But while the star has publically battled with losing her baby weight previously, she isn’t going to dwell on it. ‘I don’t have a post-baby fitness scheme planned,’ she says. ‘I’m planning on breastfeeding, so that should help.’
READ: BABY FOOD ALLERGY EXPERTS ANSWER YOUR QUESTION
An unexpected weaning turn
'Whenever I fed Bobby he would bring the milk straight up again'
It was the move from breast to bottle when Bobby was six months old that surfaced his cow’s milk allergy – a condition that he’s now grown out of and that her third baby could develop.
‘Bobby went straight from breastfeeding onto formula milk,’ she explains. ‘He then had a reaction, with a spotted, eczema-like rash around the mouth, as well as reflux and diarrhea – plus he was really uncomfortable and agitated. Whenever I fed him he would bring the milk straight up again.’
Fortunately, Jennifer’s mother-in-law was able to offer plenty of advice as Rob also had the allergy when he was a baby. After a skin prick test to confirm the allergy, Bobby was prescribed an extensively hydrolysed formula. ‘Within a few days, I could see a massive change in him which was such a relief – I got my old baby back!’
READ: TODDLER WITH A DAIRY ALLERGY? TRY THESE GREAT DAIRY-FREE MEAL IDEAS
It’s a condition that Jennifer feels deserves more publicity. ‘I worry that mums think the symptoms are a sign that they’re doing something wrong so they feel like failures,’ she says. ‘The symptoms are hard to detect and people may just put them down to colic or asthma and don’t necessarily think of cow’s milk allergy of even know about it.’
Jennifer is currently supporting the Is It Cow’s Milk Allergy campaign.
Does your baby have a food allergy – or are you worried he may develop one? Let us know in the comments box below.