The Mistresses (and Charmed and Who’s the Boss) star lets us in on her most embarrassing breastfeeding moments. Plus, why she didn’t succumb to the pressure to lose the baby weight right away.
The Bump: Did you always want to breastfeed?
Alyssa Milano: Yes, I did actually. Before I had my son, Milo, I had my mind made up that I was going to try. I was very realistic in the fact that if it wasn’t going to work out for me, then I would just choose the best formula. I was never one of those people that put that crazy, crazy pressure on myself. It was just something that I felt like I wanted to try.
Then I gave birth, and Milo was such an amazing latcher. They put him on my chest, and he immediately tried to nurse on my nose. He just latched right to it and started sucking! Even though the first few weeks were very hard, he was so good at nursing that I felt like he was teaching me how to do it.
TB: Did you have any breastfeeding challenges after that?
AM: I didn’t. I was very, very lucky. Milo breastfed like a champ, and I produced a lot of milk. I would breastfeed him and then after he would finish, I would pump for five minutes on each breast. By the time he was done breastfeeding — he weaned himself at nine months — I had two months of frozen breast milk saved up. It was something like over 600 ounces of breast milk that I kept in a deep freezer. So, he got breast milk until he was 11 months old.
TB: What breastfeeding advice would you give to pregnant women and new moms?
AM: Don’t judge what your breastfeeding experience is going to be like until after the first three weeks. The first three weeks are really hard and there were so many days that I was like, I don’t know if I can do this. One of my best friends is Jewel; she gave birth two months before me and she was sort of my advocate. Every time that I felt unsure that I could keep going, she’d say, “No, you can do it, power through it. I promise you, it is not this hard the whole time. Just get through the first three weeks!” It really, really helped me to have a friend encouraging me because it did get easier. And not only did it get easier, but it got so pleasurable. I loved breastfeeding my son.
TB: We heard you also loved being pregnant. Is that true?
AM: I loved being pregnant! I was the happiest pregnant woman ever. I think it was the revelation of what my body was made to do and seeing it go through all of those changes, which are really miraculous. I didn’t realize the perfect machine that women are until I was pregnant and then had Milo. It is amazing what we are capable of — naturally!
TB: Did you have any funny or awkward breastfeeding moments?
AM: I had very awkward situations when I was shooting the pilot of Mistresses because I was still breastfeeding. The baby was only six-and-a-half months old, so I was in full breastfeeding mode. Every two hours, we would shut down the set so I could go pump in my trailer, which would be awkward enough, but on top of that I was doing all these love scenes with these guys. We would be making out and shooting the scene. Then, the assistant director’s alarm would go off on his cell phone and he would be like “Alyssa, it’s time for you to pump now.” I would go into the trailer and pump for 20 minutes and put my wardrobe back on, which consisted of lingerie, and go back out there and try and be sexy, when I was not feeling sexy.
TB: Was weaning Milo difficult?
AM: Yes. We shot the pilot for ten days and then we didn’t start work again until four months later. By then, Milo was nine months and when I started working full time, he just weaned himself. It was hard because I wasn’t ready. I thought for sure I would get in at least 18 months of breastfeeding, but he was just done.
TB: How did you get back in shape that quickly after having the baby?
AM: I wasn’t really! I was still 20 pounds heavier than my normal weight. I didn’t lose all of my baby weight until he was probably 18 months old. At the time, I could have cared less about what my body was doing as long as it was nurturing my child. The thought of dieting or going to the gym did not even cross my mind. I was just very consumed with being a mom. I was exhausted, like every new mother, and I just tried to listen to my body and what it needed to produce milk. I was very kind to myself and then I eventually just lost the weight from eating less and moving more. There were no secrets here — I just tried to be as kind to myself as possible.
TB: That’s so refreshing! You don’t hear that from very many moms in Hollywood.
AM: My thought process was, What does anyone care if I still hold on to these 20 pounds? Seriously, how does it affect anyone else’s life? I feel like the pressure to lose that baby weight in what I do is just ridiculous. Is it to get the magazine cover? If for 99 percent of women in the world, it takes 18 months to lose the baby weight, why do you want to be that other 1 percent where it takes six weeks? I realized that the weight stayed on me, so that I could make milk. Also, you know, to be cuddly! I just wanted to be cuddly for Milo.