Alexandra Burke announced the birth of her first child in July with an adorable picture of tiny feet. The X Factor star shares her baby with boyfriend Darren Randolph, and she's taken time away from nappies and night feeds to speak to HELLO! about starting exercise again, the pressure on new mums and she also clears up the confusion over her newborn's name.
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Congratulations on becoming a mum! How are you adjusting to motherhood?
"I'm simply taking every day as it comes and that seems to be working out pretty-well so far. Obviously it hasn't been without its challenges, and I know every new parent has a different and unique experience, but for both Darren and I we are so full of love that nothing else really matters. I can't explain the joy we are both feeling. Although, I never fully understood just how many nappies a baby would go through in one day."
There used to be a big emphasis on post-baby bodies and 'snapping back'. Do you feel this pressure?
"I don't feel this pressure at all, and I wish no other mother did either. I think perhaps during my early pregnancy because I was so used to exercising, that I struggled with my body changing as I wasn't in control of it anymore.
"Having had the blessing of growing a little human this past year has honestly been one of the best feelings in the world. I think it's important to not be unkind to yourself and praise yourself for delivering a baby. Let's love our bodies more rather than looking for negatives or comparing ourselves to others. We put our bodies through way too much scrutiny.
Alexandra Burke has welcomed a beautiful new baby
"I'm determined to continue a mindset of self-love because I truly believe we cannot be happy unless we truly love the wonderful bodies we are in! Every one of us is unique and our bodies will do what they are meant to do at the right speed. I am starting to introduce exercise again, slowly, but only because this has been important to me my whole life."
We know you haven’t revealed a name yet, but was the choice mutually agreed upon by you and Darren?
"We are still deciding on a name, but we've got a few floating around. Ever since I fell pregnant, we've affectionately called the baby 'Grape'. I think some people may have thought that was their name!
Was pregnancy what you expected?
"I loved being pregnant! I was working up until around eight and a half months as I was touring around the UK with Joseph [Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat show]. I was pretty much able to take each day as it came as I was having regular check-ups and scans, and everything was how it should be. So, I was relaxed and the love from the audience each night filled me with joy.
"I've always been very active and worked out five or six times a week and my doctor said to me that I should continue if it felt right. We made some adjustments to the show towards the end so I could take the weight off my feet here and there, but I'd feel the baby responding to the singing and dancing every night and it was generally a really enjoyable experience."
The star loved her pregnancy
What baby products have been your life savers?
"Oh my goodness, I’d have to say Owlet's Monitor Duo has made things very calm at home. I didn't know just how important this would be so that I could always keep an eye on the baby wherever I am in the house. Plus, Darren is able to log in when he’s away training and see the baby on his phone in HD! A little light comes on the monitor, so I know he’s watching which is wonderful. The device tracks all kinds of things like heart rate, sleep trends and oxygen level too so it's given me a real peace of mind. I’m spending a lot of time in the new nursery."
What aspect of parenting are you finding the most challenging?
"Time and schedules! One thing I've always lived by for the last 14 years now means very little! I've quickly realised that I can have a rough plan for the day but the baby may have ideas of their own, and that’s ok, because they come first. If I’m not able to do something that’s totally fine, which is a nice feeling."
What kind of mum are you?
"Friends and family that have come around to visit have said I'm very hands on, but I can't imagine doing anything differently than I am. I’m still learning every day, but motherhood is by far my greatest achievement. I’m so very grateful for this blessing. I will be going back to work later this year so I'm just enjoying every second of being at home and watching my baby grow."
Alexandra worked until eight and a half months pregnant
We heard reports of a short maternity leave – how are you feeling about that?
"I didn't realise that people would focus so much on my return to work, but I guess I understand the conversation. We are all different and everyone's circumstances are unique to them. I’m self-employed and have been for almost 15 years. My mum brought up four children as a single mum and continued to work so I don’t see it as a big deal. I have an even greater respect now for what she did. I’m realising that a happy and calm environment tends to lead to a happy baby."
You live in Hertfordshire but do you see yourself living there forever? Would you ever consider living abroad?
"I lived in New York quite a few years ago, I loved it there and still love America very much. I’d love to do a show on Broadway there one day! I’m very settled in Hertfordshire and now that baby has arrived, and Darren’s work is here in the UK I don’t see myself moving anywhere any time soon. The UK is wonderful, I don't think we give it enough credit. We are very lucky to live here, especially when you see what is going on around the world. Before the baby arrived, we had a lovely holiday to Cornwall and it was absolutely perfect.
Do you have any holiday plans this year?
"Right now, I’m enjoying being at home and doing very little! In another couple of months I’ll be back at work before a show at The Palladium throughout December and January. There is a window for a little holiday in-between shows so I’d quite like to get on a plane for the first time as a family and jet off somewhere for some winter sun. Otherwise, I’m quite content."
Alexandra has been working with Owlet, the innovative Smart Sock Plus works from newborn to age five; it tracks oxygen level, heart rate and sleep trends for the ultimate peace of mind.
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