As Stacey Solomon nears her due date, the TV personality has opened up about how she’s been preparing for the arrival of baby number five.
Solomon, 33, has two children with husband Joe Swash, 40: their youngest daughter Rose, who is 15 months, and son Rex, who is three. She also has two other sons from previous relationships: Leighton, who is 10, and Zachery, who is 14.
The Sort Your Life Out star has been sharing updates to her 5.5 million Instagram followers throughout January as she readies the family home for their new arrival – while also having a rigorous New Year sort out. This has meant repurposing Rose’s old cot, as well as sorting through her old baby clothes.
“It’s really strange because I’ve never had children so close together – my gaps have been pretty substantial,” she tells HuffPost UK. “Rex and Rose wasn’t massive but the rest are all five to seven-year gaps.
“So it’s bizarre. It feels like we’ve only just had a baby and we’re going to give birth to another one.”
Rose was born in October 2021, so it’s fair to say finding out they were expecting again certainly came as a surprise for the couple, who got engaged in 2020 before tying the knot at their family home last summer.
“I guess it’s easier to prepare [for the next baby] because I haven’t put the cot away yet, the moses basket is still there,” she says.
“I’m actually more getting Rose into the next phase of life rather than preparing for a newborn. She’s my priority and I need to ease her into her own bed and sitting in a chair, not a highchair necessarily.
“And then I guess the next one goes into her footsteps. It doesn’t feel like we’re preparing for a newborn, basically. It feels like we’re going from baby to toddler.”
As anyone knows, choosing a new baby name is tough – not least when you’ve already ticked four off the list.
Discussing Rose’s name, Solomon says: “It’s just so perfect, but now we don’t know what to call the next one, especially if it’s a girl.”
Despite rumours swirling that the 33-year-old might call her next baby Autumn – she insists they don’t really have any contenders right now.
“We’ve got absolutely nothing – no names,” she says. “We keep saying names and then go: ‘Oh no.’ But to be fair, I didn’t name Rose until she was a couple of weeks old.”
In a Q&A last year, Solomon said they chose the name Rose because every evening after she was born, the sun would set outside her bedroom window, and as it did “it always shined on her mobile and lit up the rose”.
“That’s when we knew she was our Rose,” she explained.
Like many parents, Solomon has been more than happy to let her little ones kip in her bed over the years – being a mum to three boys, she’s especially keen to enjoy the cuddles for as long as possible.
“If my boys want to get in bed with me and give me a cuddle, I’m making the absolute most of it because they’re not going to want to cuddle me forever,” she says.
“I don’t co-sleep at the beginning [when they’re very little] because I’m too scared,” she adds, acknowledging the safety risks.
A survey of over 8,500 parents carried out by The Lullaby Trust found 76% of parents have co-slept with their baby at some point.
“My babies are quite small and they always look really scrawny and vulnerable to me, and I always think I’m going to flatten them because I’m so exhausted,” adds Solomon.
“But once they get to that age where they feel a bit more robust, then yeah – if they want to get in with me, they get in with me.
“We’ve co-slept for quite a long time – probably because I was a single parent it made it OK. But even when Joe came along, it didn’t make a difference. He just squeezed in.”
Sort Your Life Out airs on BBC One and iPlayer from Wednesday January 25 at 9pm.