Five years of celeb parenting tips

Five years of celeb parenting tips

In the last five years, we’ve asked celebrity mums the best parenting advice they’d been given; here’s what we learned…


Rebecca Adlington, Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer
‘So many people throw advice at you but the only person you really listen to is your mum – she just gets what you need. My mum always cleans when she comes over – she’s so good to me! I read quite a lot of books. I was clueless about all the practical things such as knowing the temperature of the nursery, or the bath, so safety stuff is useful, but for all the other stuff you just have to roll with it – the baby leads the way. At first I just wanted reassurance – I felt I didn’t know what I was doing, but then each day I grew in confidence.’

Sarah Beeny, TV presenter
‘Enjoy every single minute because it goes so quickly.’

Cerrie Burnell, CBeebies presenter
‘To trust your instincts. It came from a lovely lady in our local supermarket. I was breastfeeding and exhausted, and we were talking about the whole sleeping thing. There was lots of advice about not having the baby in bed with you, and she just said to me, “Mama knows best.” So I did what came naturally and it worked for us.’

Sara Cox, TV and radio presenter
‘For me, my first baby was the maddest change in lifestyle. But I think I’d advise, through the haze of sleepless nights and being knackered, just trying to live in the moment – don’t start looking forward, thinking, “They’ll be sitting up/talking/walking soon,” because it just goes so fast. Also, don’t be too hard on yourself. Sometimes my kids have had beans and sweetcorn on toast for their tea, but I know the next day I’ll give them, you know, some oily fish with veg and grains.’

Sally Phillips, actress
‘I’m tempted to say put your copy of The Contented Little Baby in the bin, but to be fair, it does work for some people – it’s worked for my brothers. Otherwise, just trust your instincts; forget the rules and figure out what works for your family.’

Rachel Stevens, singer
‘Follow your instincts.’

Myleene Klass, singer
‘Mother knows best! My mum told me that.’

Jools Oliver, co-designer of Little Bird by Jools at Mothercare
‘Keep calm and carry on! I never listened to any advice anyone ever gave me so I say, do it your own way.’

Charlotte Church, singer
‘Keep smiling! Yep, it’s hard when I’m rushing around and feeling tired, but it’s something I try to do, however stressed I get. I think it’s true that nothing seems as bad when you smile.’

Cherry Healey, TV presenter
‘There is no such thing as perfect parenting. That sounds obvious, but I think I didn’t realise parenting was something you could learn. There is so much good information and advice out there, so if there’s something you’re struggling with, seek help – use books or websites – and don’t suffer in isolation.’

Nadia Sawalha, actress
‘It’s something someone said to me a long time ago. Think of your baby as a guest – they are essentially a stranger, and you have to give yourself a chance to get to know them. Even as they grow up, you have to continue to get to know them, and that means listening.’

Samantha Womack, actress
‘To not kill yourself about doing everything the “right way”. Children do everything in their own time, so if something feels right for you and your child, stand up for it. Don’t be manipulated by anyone else’s viewpoint.’

Tamzin Outhwaite, actress
‘One thing my doctor advised me, when I had Florence, was not to look at the internet and not to listen to everybody else, because they will throw in their twopence worth. Instead, just find out along the way, discover things for yourself and get to know your child.’

Konnie Huq, TV presenter
‘I guess it’s good in the early days, when you’re sleep deprived, to try to sleep when your baby does.’

Carrie Grant, TV presenter and vocal coach
‘Be yourself and trust your instincts. There are too many opinions, you can end up feeling like a failure and that isn’t helpful, is it?’

Una Healy, singer-songwriter
‘My mother gave me so much advice from the very beginning, just day-to-day, practical things. She stayed with me for the first six months, she moved over from Ireland, so I had the benefit of her experience. And I’m still on the phone to her every day about stuff.’

Zoe Ball, TV and radio presenter
‘How to change tack, which I don’t think I ever learned with Woody but I’ve really learned with Nelly. When she’s having a little whinge about something, I’ll just say, “Oh, look what’s over there,” and totally change the subject. I think Norm does it with me now!’

Denise Lewis, Olympic gold medal-winning athlete
‘Parents hear so much advice, and everything depends on your children. But I’d say pick your battles, otherwise you could drive yourself potty. You want to stick to your principles, but you need to be flexible sometimes as well.’

Kirsty Gallacher, TV presenter
‘After I’d had my first baby, Oscar, someone told me that I had to just get through the first 12 weeks, and then things would become much easier. I remember thinking, “Yeah right,” but it’s so true. For the first three months it’s chaos. The sleep deprivation means you don’t know what you’re doing and the baby is all over the place. But it’s so much easier after 12 weeks. It happened with both babies, like a light switch going on.’


Laura Hamilton, TV presenter
‘There’s so much great advice out there, from books, magazines, random strangers – everyone has an opinion on parenting. But you have to find out what works for you.’

Jenny Frost, TV presenter
‘Expect the worst and it can only be better! I imagined all sorts when I was pregnant with the twins – how I’d manage to feed them at the same time, get them both to sleep and so on. I worried it would all be so difficult, but the reality hasn’t been as tough as I imagined it would be, and it gets better every day.’

Michaela Strachen, TV presenter
‘When Ollie was a toddler, I was (and am still, I think) very guilty of arranging his diary, always keeping him busy. But someone told me that sometimes the best thing you can do is let children be bored, because then their own imagination and creativity begin to soar.’

Michelle Heaton, TV presenter
‘I read it somewhere, and it was basically to do what feels natural. I’m not into the whole controlled crying thing – I don’t like hearing them cry. I wanted to give them a cuddle or bring them into my bed. It was right for us.’

Jenni Falconer, TV and radio presenter
‘It was from my husband – isn’t it annoying when they see things so clearly? He said, “She’s our daughter, she will be fine. We are her parents, and we will do what works for us.”’

Kate Thornton, TV and radio presenter
‘Not to take advice. If a pregnant friend asks, I tell them every experience is different. Do it your way, don’t feel badgered into conforming. When you’re a new mum, sleep deprived, on your knees, there’s nothing worse than some well-intentioned do-gooder going, “Do this! Do that! Breastfeed! Read Gina Ford! Stand on your head!” The greatest advice is, don’t judge other parents, find what’s right for you.’


Angellica Bell, TV presenter
‘Always go with your instincts. If you’ve given birth to them, you’ll know what’s best. Never let anyone make you feel guilty about how you want to parent your children.’

Jennifer Ellison, actress and dancer
‘A friend told me not to try to be the perfect mum because there’s no such thing – and it’s so true, although it takes a while to get your head around it all, especially when you’re functioning on no sleep. The truth is that no one knows what they’re doing at first. You just learn as you go along.’

Julia Bradbury, TV presenter
‘To get into a routine. And that doesn’t mean staying at home because of a rigid routine. It means keeping their timings the same wherever you are. Children thrive on it but it’s also important for the whole household. You can structure your day accordingly to catch up on rest, housework or work. A routine gives you something to anchor yourself to.’

Vicki Butler-Henderson, TV presenter and racing driver
‘To have patience and stay calm.’

Katy Hill, TV and radio presenter
‘Trust your instincts. I’m an information junkie, so I read and read about pregnancy and babies but I soon realised that so much of it is instinctive.’

Elaine Cassidy, actress
‘I figured things out for myself after watching a mixture of people – family and experts. I was able to see what my sister and other people had done, and take that I felt was appropriate for me. I discipline my children differently because they respond to different things. With my daughter, if I ban TV, it’s effective. But with my son, I have to try something else.’

Caprice Bourret, model
‘I’m still given advice and, being a parent, you just have to learn as you go. For instance, a lot of my mates were telling me to get the MMR. I did, but I did it separately, which I think was the right thing for my boys as they reacted quite badly to each jab. I do think that it’s very important to get immunised.’

Gabby Logan, TV presenter
‘I have a good friend who has four kids and I used to ring her about everything – I joked about starting a blog and posting all her brilliant advice. I was never too proud to ask, especially if it made my life easier.’

Nemone Metaxas, Radio presenter
‘My cousin said, “Good enough is good enough,” because she knows how much of a perfectionist I am, and said I had to accept that good enough is Ok. And just before I had my daughter, my mum told me, “Trust your instincts – you will always intuitively know what’s best for you and the baby.” I’ve found that to be true.’

Lisa Faulkner, actress
‘That there’s always tomorrow and everything can be sorted out. I feel so awful if I end up getting cross – as a parent you can really give yourself a hard time about it, but then you realise that every parent does it at times. It feels like you’re juggling constantly, and you put pressure on yourself, and sometimes it all falls down – but you have to know it’s Ok to get up the next day and do it all again.’


Sheree Murphy, actress
‘Use your support systems. I didn’t listen to that advice with the first one, but I certainly did with the second. My mum taught me the benefits of taking a bit of time out for myself. She’d book me a hair appointment and tell me to go off and enjoy it while she had the kids.’

Amanda Holden, TV presenter and actress
‘Someone once said, “Only be the mum you can sustain.” That is such good advice. If you try to be someone you’re not, you’re going to crack. You can take on board practical advice about potty training or whatever, but when it comes to playing with your children and nurturing them, or breastfeeding them or not, there shouldn’t be pressure on parents to be anything but what they can sustain. With my first baby, I did everything by the book and Lexie thrived, but I nearly killed myself doing it. When I had Hollie, she was a great baby, and I was more relaxed so she just slotted into our lives. I did everything with more humour and less anxiety.’

Pearl Lowe, kids’ clothes designer
I have a tendency to try to control things, but that’s not always the best way – the children have to experience things to learn, rather than just me telling them. My mum has always said to me, “Pearl, you’ve got to stop trying to control every situation.” I’ve tried to step back as they’ve got older. They have to live their own lives.


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