Former Bachelor contestant Melissa Rycroft and her husband Tye Strickland welcomed their first child, Ava Grace, on February 16. But raising their daughter wasn’t always easy.
The 28-year-old mom opened up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about her 4-month-old daughter, her breast reduction surgery that left her unable to breastfeed, and her postpartum weight loss.
CBS: How have you adjusted to motherhood?
MR: “I don’t know if you ever fully adjust to motherhood. It sort of becomes who you are and what you do. I look at my life five months ago and I really don’t remember what I did all day! My life, literally, every minute of every day revolves around Ava and her schedule: ‘Is she hungry, or sleepy, or does she need to play?’ It’s about what can we do today as opposed to what am I going to do today.
The few times that I have had a bit of free time during the day, I’ve sat at home and said to myself, ‘Well this feels awkward!’ I’m so used to having this little one around me that I almost don’t know what to do with myself when I don’t have her. I guess motherhood has just become me and defined me.”
CBS: Are you breastfeeding?
MR: “No, I wasn’t able to breastfeed. I had a breast reduction when I was 19 and so it was one of those, ‘maybe I will, maybe I won’t’ situations. I just wasn’t physically able to breastfeed. I would sit and pump for hours and hours and hours and produced nothing. Not even a drop would come out. It was a tough decision to give up trying. I really wanted to give it a shot and I really wanted to bond with her that way.
With a breast reduction, it all depends on how the surgery goes. I was pretty large to begin with, so they did have to move around a lot of the bodywork. During the process, some of the tubes got disconnected.
Obviously, breastfeeding is the No. 1 thing you can do for your child, and when it’s not an option it’s hard. But I had to come to terms with the fact that I just can’t do it. She’s thriving, she’s happy and she’s healthy and she did that without mom’s help.”
CBS: You look amazing at 4 months postpartum! What’s your secret?
MR: “I sure wish there was a secret! I wish there was a magic pill after having a baby that would just magically transform your body back. But there’s not and I think there are a lot of factors that attributed to getting my body back. I’m still not back to where I was and I’m not even looking to get back where I was.
I think first and foremost, I didn’t feel pressure. I didn’t feel that I had to lose the weight and look good. I took a couple months off work so there was no industry pressure for me whatsoever. And I didn’t have any pressure from Tye. He consistently told me throughout my pregnancy that I looked beautiful and looked great. And I also had luck on my side. I gained about 50 pounds, but a lot of it was boob, water and healthy weight because it didn’t take a lot to get it off.
I dieted my butt off! Probably about three weeks after Ava was born, I started cutting basically everything out: No sugar, no carbs, no starchy anything, no sodium. I ate pretty bland. So it didn’t take very long after I started doing that before I started to really notice the weight really coming off. It’s no way to live and I definitely don’t do that anymore but it kick-started it and got me back to where I am.”
To read the entire interview, click here.
[Photo via PR Photos.]