Home and Away fans were finally introduced to Ziggy Astoni (Sophie Dillman) and Dean Thompson’s (Patrick O’Connor) baby girl on Tuesday night. While the newborn’s arrival was full of joy and awe, the baby’s real mother spilled some secrets about what really happened behind the scenes.
In a post on the Home and Away Spoilers & Info Facebook group, the mum shared a look into the processes of handling a baby on set. Fans were surprised to find out that the newborn baby girl was actually played by a three-week-old boy named Charlie.
The proud mum told fans that Sophie was a natural during her first cuddle with Charlie, even though he had a big accident during the scene. Eagle-eyed viewers would have noticed the baby frowning upon arrival, and there was a hilarious reason why.
“The frown he pulls in the first scene was him doing a poo which exploded out of [his nappy]. Sophie was super professional and carried on regardless,” she revealed. “She’s so lovely, even when Charlie pooed on her she didn’t mind.”
When the baby was handed to Sophie for the first time, he had a white substance on his head to mimic a real-life birth. His mum confirms there wasn’t any fake blood, with the makeup department opting to use nappy rash cream Sudocrem instead.
The mum spilled that Charlie won’t be seen on-screen again in the future, as Ziggy and Dean’s baby will be played by other older male babies or be replaced with a doll.
NSW’s strict guidelines regarding working with children
There are extremely strict guidelines that the New South Wales Government have established to keep working children safe.
While some fans complained that the baby didn’t look young enough to be a newborn, babies with a birth weight of under three kilos aren’t allowed to be used on-screen while they are younger than 12 weeks old.
Steve Kinmond, the NSW Children's Guardian, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that production companies must get their permission to use a baby younger than 12 weeks of age in any performance or photographic shoots. As part of the process, the infant needs to be evaluated by a registered nurse or registered midwife before the Office of the Children's Guardian approves any requests.
“[Production companies must] satisfy us that the baby will be safe and well looked after before commencing any work,” he says. “The registered nurse or midwife must advise the employer that the work environment won’t cause distress or harm to the baby…our officers can [also] visit productions to make sure baby and child performers are being cared for properly.”
“While working in the entertainment industry can be lots of fun, there are risks and pressures for both employers and child performers. That’s why we impose strict requirements on the work conditions for children and babies so that their educational, health and wellbeing needs are met,” he explains.
Baby Charlie weighed just four kilograms when he appeared on TV for his big moment of fame.
“Prior to filming a nurse visits, checks on feeding, weight and general health,” the mum explained. “Which is why very newborns can’t be used, they need a check at least a week or two prior for clearance. Plus no mum wants to go straight from labour to TV set!”
According to Charlie’s mum, the OCG also puts a limit on how many people can handle such a young infant. “They are held by two actors, the nurse and parent only. Another reason they need several babies!” she said.
Fans react to the behind-the-scenes secrets: ‘Interesting’
After the mum shared her experience on the Home and Away set, people were quick to congratulate her on her bundle of joy, as well as thank her for the ‘interesting’ insight.
“He is very cute. Thank you for letting ‘Ziggy’ be mum to your baby for the filming. It’s nice to get some background information,” one person gushed.
“Thank you for sharing your beautiful baby boy with us. Congratulations! What a thrill for you to be part of a beautiful storyline,” another added.
“Great share, my daughter did the show breakers, 24 years ago. She loved watching herself on TV. Very scary but exciting thing for a new mum to do. Congratulations,” a third chimed in.
Sophie’s mother Karen Dillman even thanked Charlie’s mum for allowing her daughter to hold the infant during the emotional scene.
“Sophie is my real-life daughter and I’m glad she was able to do the scene well with your beautiful bubba,” Karen gushed.
Yahoo Lifestyle has reached out to Seven for comment.
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