Tamara Ecclestone: "I was surprised by the instant love"
The TV personality and entrepreneur chats about life with daughter Sophia, three, and her breast feeding journey.
Did you always want to be a mum?
No! I was not one of those girls who grew up wanting, I guess, the fairytale ending. It was only when I met my husband Jay that I knew I wanted them for sure. The first-hand experience of having babies in the family does make you see things in a different way too. My sister Petra had a baby, Lavinia, who is only a year older than my Sophia – or Fifi, as I call her.
What surprised you about being a mum?
The instant love: I was just in a bubble. We hibernated, feeding and cuddling, and it was the most intense feeling. I didn’t expect it to be that powerful at all.
How was your pregnancy?
In the beginning I was nauseous, but that ended after about three months, and then I enjoyed it. I’m super organised anyway, but I wrote an abnormally large number of lists of things I needed, and spent time preparing everything for her arrival. Luckily for me, I didn’t find pregnancy got in the way; it actually made life better.
Did you have a birth plan?
I had a planned C-section because Fifi was breech. She actually turned at the last minute, but it was so set in my mind by then that I decided to have it anyway. Although, in retrospect, I almost wish I had given birth naturally, because I would have liked to experience that. I wonder whether giving birth naturally might have been, in my head at least, more romantic? But with my OCD personality, having a date in mind appealed to me.
Can you describe birth in one word?
Amazing! Jay cutting the cord, and then us hearing her cry for the first time – it was all so special.
What’s the best thing about having a daughter?
Fifi is a real mummy’s girl. She is so sweet and affectionate to me. In some ways she is very girly, but she can also be a tomboy and she loves football.
Who dresses her?
Sometimes she dresses herself, or Lavinia dresses her – that’s when she looks the most crazy. It’s how they like to express themselves – they love accessories! It’s fun. They put the most insane outfits together.
Who’s your big parenting influence?
My sister. She has three children now, and I watch how she keeps it together and stays fabulous. She’s hands-on with all her children, so I ask her all the questions, like ‘How long will this phase last?’
Has being a mum changed you?
I have definitely changed, but I feel like this is who I am meant to be. I used to be so into going out to clubs, and drinking, which was great at the time, but that felt like a stage. Being a mum isn’t a ‘stage’.
Why did you decide to breastfeed?
I hadn’t been sure that I wanted to, but then started reading up about the benefits. It wasn’t easy to start with, because she was born with a tongue tie, but I’m glad we persevered after it was fixed. As well as providing good nutrition and comfort for her, it’s meant we haven’t had to schlep around bottles, pumps and formula.
Do you think there's a right age to stop?
Because I can see how well Fifi is doing, I haven’t stopped yet. She still feeds in the morning, and it’s how she falls asleep at night. But she won’t still be on the boob when she’s 18 – I trust that everything will organically change when the time is right.
Why have you become such an ambassador for breastfeeding?
I find it the most natural thing in the world. I get messages on Instagram saying things like, ‘My mother-in-law told me to stop because it was weird, but you inspired me to carry on!’ It’s a personal decision and I wouldn’t dream of criticising anyone who decided it wasn’t for them, but I’ve had a lot of stick for continuing to breastfeed and just don’t understand it. I think we should be supportive of each other, not judgemental.
How do you juggle your life?
I still work a lot with Great Ormond Street, a wonderful charity, and have my business, Show Beauty, and my new baby product venture, Fifi & Friends, so days when Fifi’s at nursery are still full on. But it’s rewarding – it’s worth being tired to get it all done.
What does Jay do better than you?
Jay is the ‘fun’ parent, who throws her around and is really good at tickling. When it comes to dressing or going to the toilet – anything practical – he looks to me.
What one attribute would you like to pass on to your daughter?
I hope she will be brave, have the courage to do what she thinks is right and stand up for what she believes in.
What does she do to make you laugh?
She’s so smart and knows how to say things in the right context. I’m really clumsy and recently dropped my phone on my toes; she said, ‘Have you learned your lesson now?’
Would you like more children?
Yes, definitely. Jay wants another one right now, but I don’t feel ready yet. I still have Fifi sleeping in bed with me, so it still feels like she is a baby. When she starts school I’d like to try, because I think it’s nice to have a sibling. I’m so close to my sister, and I’d like Fifi to have that relationship.
Any quick-fix tips for new mums?
Tamara’s new range of baby products is available online now at fifiandfriends.co.uk. She was chatting to Catherine Hudson.