Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle has opened up on her breastfeeding journey and revealed how parents “know their child best” when it comes to taking advice.
The 36 year old welcomed her daughter Freya, two, with finance director Andy Allen one year after the couple tied the knot in a gorgeous ceremony in Beth’s hometown of Bunbury, Cheshire, in 2018.
Beth, who was crowned the winner of Dancing On Ice in 2013, described how her adorable little girl “puts a smile” on her face “every day” at their family home in West Lancashire.
Speaking exclusively to OK! Online, Beth described how she “has been very lucky” with her support network which has included her parents, friends and in-laws since becoming a first-time mum.
The Olympic bronze medallist said: “One of the biggest things I was told before having Freya was don’t listen to everyone else’s advice as you know the best.
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“I haven’t had that as an issue but I think that can be very hard to overcome especially if people are constantly giving you different advice and you start to question yourself.”
She added: “I know that I can ring my mum or Andy’s mum and just say: ‘Help! What do I need to do?’
“They will always give me the advice but they will never, ever, be offended if I didn’t then take that advice on.”
The mum-of-one, who was awarded her MBE in the 2010 New Year Honours list, described how she decided to breastfeed Freya and “absolutely loved it”.
Speaking about becoming a parent for the first time, she said: “There are so many different topics from breastfeeding to when should they start nursery and eat solid foods.
“I think the one thing I have learnt is that you know your child best and I am very lucky with Andy as we discuss everything and make those joint decisions.”
She continued: “I made the decision to breastfeed Freya and absolutely loved it. It was hard, I am not going lie, such as the middle of the night feeds but I loved being able to do it.”
Beth revealed how she and Andy, who popped the question to Beth in Brazil while she was working as a BBC commentator for the 2016 Olympics in Rio, “bounce off each other” and act as a “balance” in their parenting styles.
She said: “I very much like a routine and to know what is going on whereas Andy is a lot more laid-back.
“If he sees me getting a little bit stressed out about things, he will kind of put the logic into it and then I am like: ‘You are so right.’ He is so logical we balance each other out.”
The three-time world champion also described how little Freya is “really chatty” and “very inquisitive” and has not quite reached the “terrible twos” yet.
Asked if her daughter will follow in her gymnastic footsteps, Beth laughed: “Even before she was born, I had: ‘Is she going to be a gymnast? Is she going to do this?’”
Britain’s greatest ever-female gymnast, who founded Beth Tweddle Gymnastics, revealed how Freya will “100 per cent do gymnastics at a basic level”, adding: “The fundamentals are key to body awareness and discipline.
“She is very hyperactive and energetic and she loves doing lots of different things so we will expose her to lots of different sports.”
Speaking about the importance of sport at a young age, she continued: “It is all about the development of the child because the key skills that you learn within sport like friendship and that social aspect of being around other children that aren’t your school friends.
“They are picking up on so many other skills other than sport they are learning.”
Beth also revealed how she is “so excited” for the World Championships to return to Liverpool in 2022 after it was the city where she started gymnastic training at the age of 12.
She said: “The British public love their sport and when a British athlete comes up to compete, the noise in the stadium…I will never again be able to have that feeling of walking in because it was just the best feeling in the world.
“And if you can’t inspire children by having the best on the doorstep, then I don’t know how else we can!”
Tickets for the World Gymnastics Championships are on sale here.