Boy oh boy… we’ve finally got a GIRL! After 15 years and TEN sons (that’s one nearly every 18 months), couple have a baby daughter… at last!
- Alexis and David Brett are the first British couple known to have ten boys in a row
- They live in a detached five bedroom home in Dingwall, Ross-shire, Scotland
- They buy 16 loaves of bread, 50 pints of milk and 100 packets of crisps per week
- Now their family is complete after mother Alexis gives birth to a baby girl
It’s safe to say that it has always been a man’s world in Alexis Brett’s home.
After first becoming a mother to a bouncing baby boy when she was 22, Alexis went on to have nine more babies over the next 15 years – all of them male.
In fact, she and husband David were the first British couple known to have had ten boys in a row.
But now something truly astonishing has arrived in the Brett household: a baby girl.
Campbell, 17, Harrison, 16, Corey, 14, Lachlan, 11, Brodie, nine, Brahn, eight, Hunter, six, Mack, five, Blake, three, and Rothagaidh, two, are pictured above from left to right along with parents Alexis and David Brett and their new baby sister
Cradling her new arrival last night, Alexis, 39, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘We’re over the moon. I’d been expecting to hear we were having another boy but when I found out it was a girl, my face was a picture. I was shocked but delighted. Now she’s here with us, it’s a fantastic feeling.’
The birth of her daughter, named Cameron after the actress Cameron Diaz, has already had a remarkable effect on the lives of her brothers, whose ages range from 17 to two.
David, 44, a train driver, said: ‘She’s already having a good influence on the boys. They have generally been much better behaved around her, trying to keep quiet in case they wake her up. They also want to help with holding and feeding her. It’s been great.’
The couple hope that, by the time their daughter needs her own room, her older brothers will have homes of their own. For now, Cameron will have a crib in her parents’ room
Cameron’s arrival on August 27 – weighing 7 lb 2oz – marks the completion, the couple insist, of their large family, which includes Campbell, 17, Harrison, 16, Corey, 14, Lachlan, 11, Brodie, nine, Brahn, eight, Hunter, six, Mack, five, Blake, three, and Rothagaidh, two.
‘We’re definitely stopping now,’ laughs Alexis.
‘No more! I remember saying that last time, but this time I absolutely mean it. I love my family as it is now.
‘Of course, we do get comments about the number of children we have. But it doesn’t bother me what people think. We’re well used to it. Some people think we must be on benefits, but we’re not. David has a good job which means we don’t even qualify for full child benefit.’
It was last Christmas Eve, when Alexis – who has spent more than eight years of the past 18 pregnant – suspected she might be pregnant again and a home test confirmed it.
With their other babies, the Bretts had no idea of which sex they were until they were born, but this time they had a gender scan at a private clinic.
‘Curiosity did get the better of us,’ said Alexis. ‘When the results came in the post, Harrison opened the envelope because I was too nervous. When we realised it was a girl, we were amazed. It sounds silly because it’s a 50:50 chance, but we were surprised anyway.
‘We’ve been asked a lot whether we’ve had so many children because we were hoping for that elusive girl. But I can honestly answer no. Cameron wasn’t planned, but I was happy all the same, and if another boy had been on the way it wouldn’t have bothered me.
‘I’m an only child myself and I’d never planned to have a large family, but now that I do, I love it. I always joked I wouldn’t have a clue what to do with a girl anyway but that’s all changed now, of course, and I have to admit that we’re having a lot of fun buying pink things for the first time.’
With so many hungry mouths to feed, the family cannot fit the an entire weekly shop into their two double fridges or kitchen cupboards, so David does three trips to the local supermarket each week
Alexis and David, who have been together since 1998, live in a detached five-bedroom home in Dingwall, Ross-shire, and the boys all share rooms.
The couple hope that, by the time their daughter needs her own room, her older brothers will have homes of their own. For now, Cameron will have a crib in her parents’ room.
Alexis, who has joked in the past that she is ‘immune’ to most birth control methods, intends to return to her job as a part-time fitness instructor in a few weeks.
As with the arrival of any new baby, the Bretts’ family routine has been thrown temporarily into chaos, with tiny dark-haired Cameron expecting feeds every two hours.
But Alexis’s day usually begins an hour after her husband goes to work at 4.30am, when she uses the ‘quiet’ time to enjoy a coffee and a shower before the first of the children emerge from their beds for nursery and school.
With so many hungry mouths to feed, the family cannot fit the an entire weekly shop into their two double fridges or kitchen cupboards, so David does three trips to the local supermarket each week.
The weekly bill, excluding clothes, is about £300 and includes nine large boxes of cereal, 16 loaves of bread, 50 pints of milk, seven litres of fruit squash and 100 packets of crisps, 30 apples, 25 bananas, two kilograms of pasta and two tubes of toothpaste.
One breakfast sitting sees nearly two loaves of bread and a box and a half of cereal consumed, while dinner is served in two phases with the youngest going first, as the family’s kitchen table is not large enough to seat everyone.
Astonishingly, the Bretts do not own a dishwasher and Alexis does all the washing-up by hand. Each week, 80 showers and baths are run, and the washing machine is loaded seven times a day.
She also vacuums the house seven times a day, and is already on her second vacuum cleaner this year.
‘It’s not easy with so many boys running around, but I like everything to be neat and tidy,’ she shrugs. ‘I can’t stand mess.’
Too many males? Why it’s all Dad’s fault
By Professor Simon Fishel
For those wondering how this couple had so many boys, it is all down to the father – or rather his sperm – because this is what determines a baby’s sex.
If you have a sperm with an X-chromosome it makes a girl, while a sperm with a Y-chromosome makes a boy.
We used to believe years ago that anything above six boys or six girls in row was probably due to an imbalance in the father’s sperm. But the evidence for this is weak and new thinking argues that it could instead be just like tossing a coin.
The truth is, nobody truly knows. The only way you could test it is if you took a sperm sample from the father to see the proportion of x and y sperm. The Bretts are an unusual case, but if you go back a few generations having 11 children wouldn’t have been unusual at all.
If a woman starts having children young it can get easier and they say that after you’ve had three, delivery comes a lot quicker.
It’s said that by the time you’re on your fifth and sixth you hardly know it’s happening before the baby’s out. So having a family of 11 kids is not down to the super fertility of the mum.
In fact biologically this is what women have been doing for a very long time.
Women are remarkably well conditioned to the stress and strain of becoming a mother.
She’s got to feed herself properly, drink properly, have a bit of TLC and then her body will cope with it all fine.
David, who was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s six years ago, is a hands-on father and shares the housekeeping around his flexible working hours.
‘I wouldn’t have it any other way. My medication helps with the symptoms, which are thankfully still minor,’ he says.
‘I always try to have time for each of our boys. It’s difficult for us to have a holiday as one big group –that hasn’t happened for years.’
The family’s monthly clothes bill is about £300, with at least three pairs of new shoes bought every few weeks.
Just inside the front door, 40 pairs of trainers, school shoes and Hunter wellies are all neatly stacked on a shoe rack.
The family has a seven-seater people-carrier and a five-seater Range Rover, but Alexis cannot drive so if they want to go out as a family, David does a double journey.
In between picking up toy cars and Lego, not to mention putting down the toilet seat, there have been hardly any concession to femininity in the home.
But as the procession of small boys peering over the rim of the crib testifies, the novelty of finally having a girl in the house is irresistible.
One brother helpfully places a large white fur toy cat, complete with pink ribbon around its neck, at her feet of his sister in an attempt to keep her entertained.
Alexis says: ‘David and I do look at each other sometimes to say ‘What have we done?’, but we could never imagine life with a small family now.’
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