To celebrate the launch of her new book Truly Scrumptious Baby, read what happened when our Digital Editor Jane McGuire met Holly Willoughby.
‘I can’t find my lip balm – my bag is filled with toys and fidget spinners’ Holly laughs, as she prepares to sit down and talk to me about her new book Truly Scrumptious Baby. Every bit as down-to-earth as she appears on This Morning, Holly is polished to perfection, making jeans and a white t-shirt look enviously glam as we sit down to talk all things weaning.
First things first, just how do you fit it all in – writing a book, being on This Morning and raising three kids?
(Laughs) That’s why I write about things I feel I know about! I sit down with my sister, who writes the books with me, and we just have really natural chats. It’s the kind of stuff all mums talk about anyway, so it’s work, but it definitely doesn’t feel like work.
What inspired you to write the second book?
It’s the next stage I guess. I wanted to write the first book after having Harry as I couldn’t believe how much I didn’t know despite reading every baby book going – I thought I knew it all and suddenly this baby came along and I was like ‘right this wasn’t what I was expecting’. By the time Belle came along I had other questions and with Chester I learnt even more, so I wanted to write it all down in one place.
For me, the inspiration for this book was that moment where I felt like I’d mastered breastfeeding or bottle feeding and that I’d started to get your sleep back, then suddenly weaning came along and I was like ‘what? Are you joking?’ So, for me, it was the next natural progression. I think I’ve had three very different experiences with mine so this book just made sense.
Who was the easiest of your three to wean?
Harry and Belle were pretty similar; with Harry, I was more nervous as he was my first so I probably wasn’t as adventurous as I could have been whereas with Belle I was much more confident. Chester is always my exception to the rule – he had reflux when he was tiny so had a weird association with food, whether it was breast or bottle feeding, anything that touched his lips he would turn his head at because he associated feeding with pain. I knew solids would be the best thing for him once he reached a certain age but he wouldn’t put a spoon in his mouth, so I thought I’m going to give you some broccoli and see what you do with that and he picked it up and put it in his mouth straight away. He basically chose to baby-led wean himself!
You can have all these plans when it comes to your children, but ultimately, they decide for you. The biggest thing you can do is understand your baby
You can have all these plans when it comes to your children, but ultimately, they decide for you. The biggest thing you can do is understand your baby.
I read in an interview Chester also potty-trained himself – is this true?
Yes he did – before he was two! That’s just the third child though, they learn from the world around them. He sees his brother and sister not wearing nappies and sitting on the loo and he’s like ‘I can do that! Look, watch this’ takes his nappy off and did it.
What’s your biggest piece of advice when it comes to weaning?
To get as many different textures, flavours and colours in as early as you possibly can. Also, if your baby doesn’t like something the first time, don’t give it to them in exactly the same way – put it on pasta or hide it in something. I think the more they try something, the more they get used to it.
Are your kids fussy or do they eat everything?
They pretty much eat everything now, but I think I’ve always been quite tough with them. Not to be too strict of a parent, but I won’t give them much of an option – there’s one thing on the menu for dinner and if you don’t like it that’s tough. Now that they’re older I know if they don’t like something they really don’t like it and that’s fine, but I only feel confident in that because I made them try everything.
Do you have a favourite recipe in the book?
I’m going to choose a Belle inspired recipe – she loves edamame beans and doesn’t like baked beans. There’s no shame in baked beans on toast as a great emergency tea, so I created a recipe using edamame beans that’s got the same comfort and texture of the meal we all know and love.
You’re obviously juggling a lot of plates, are there certain things you won’t miss when it comes to your kids?
I am, but it’s really never as bad as people thing. My main job is This Morning which means I miss the school run, but I’m home by 2pm so can do pick up, tea, bath and bed. I don’t work Fridays or weekends so really, I’m very lucky with the amount of time I get to spend with my kids.
Finally, the question we’ve always been asking – will there be another book?
Nothing planned as yet, but these books are always on subjects I feel strongly about as a mum, so we’ll have to wait and see!
Holly’s book Truly Scrumptious Baby is out on 7th September and is available to order on Amazon.