When prepping for your first baby, you read all the books out there and research the best ways to handle x, y, and z. But nothing can truly prepare you for the little ray of sunshine you’re about to bring into the world. You’ll quickly figure out what works and what doesn’t for your family once your baby is born. Yes, all the educational books and podcasts are extremely helpful, but for most, turning to a good friend and family for advice and insight is what really counts. We chatted with Kourt’s friend, model and new mom, Allie Rizzo, on the challenges of the first year with a newborn because, after all, who knows it better than someone who just went through it?
Read the full interview on motherhood below.
How do you balance "me" time with a new baby?
Allie: “This was hard in the beginning. I had a lot of mom guilt even if I left for small amounts of time. Eventually, I calmed down and I realized it’s so important to find time for me and step outside the baby bubble. The first few months after birth it’s all revolving around their needs. Once we got a routine and settled, I had to peel myself away from the intense nesting and get out and normalize again. Now I know I’m a great mom and don’t feel guilty taking time to sit and have a glass of wine with friends.”
What are the top three items you use the most off your baby registry?
Allie: “My Babyzen Yoyo is the best stroller for NYC and for travel because it folds up so easily. I can throw it in the back of a cab in two seconds.
My Happiest Baby Snoo bassinet was amazing and made the first few months so much easier (you can rent them now, which is great).
Parachute Home organic crib sheets … so pretty and cozy.”
What’s your go-to brand for baby products?
Allie: “I love Baeo baby products. They are plant-based and organic—safe for him, and they have the best scent. They have a Bare Face soothing stick that I put on Henry before bed and he loves it. He gets dry cheeks, and this is so easy to rub on as opposed to a messy cream that gets in his eyes.”
What advice would you give to new moms about breastfeeding?
Allie: “Breastfeeding is amazing and tough! I love the movement to normalize breastfeeding because all women should feel comfortable feeding their kids. I actually felt more comfortable breastfeeding than using formula in public. I was surprised by the reaction I had a few times from other moms when I was mixing formula and was asked things like ‘aww, you can’t breastfeed?’ Or ‘you know breast is best.’ I think the purpose of the movement is to make women feel comfortable—period. If you want to breastfeed for two years, go for it, and if you want to breastfeed for two months, go for it. Fed is best, and do what’s right for you and your baby. Don’t judge other women and don’t be hard on yourself.”
Did you change your diet at all while you were pregnant?
Allie: “I cleaned it up quite a bit! I’ve never been the healthiest eater, but when I was pregnant, I made a big effort to eliminate junk. I cut out all the fake stuff with ingredients that scared me. It wasn’t the easiest time to pass on Sour Patch Kids in a movie theater, but I indulged in things that weren’t packed with chemicals and filled with ingredients I can’t pronounce. It was the first time in my life I was really thinking about things I put into my body, and I’m still more respectful of my body now post-baby.”
What skincare products did you use while pregnant?
Allie: “I cleaned out my cabinets when I was pregnant and bought chemical-free everything. Similar to what I ate, I suddenly cared about what I applied to my skin. It’s odd that it took pregnancy for me to be this concerned about wellness, but it just clicked when it wasn’t just about my well-being. It was really easy to find clean options. I would check what was Environmental Working Group (EWG) approved and go from there. It’s easy and safe, and there are so many affordable organic options now.
What was the most surprising thing you learned about motherhood?
Allie: “The amount you can love someone you just met. All the cliches are true … it’s just beyond words. I didn’t get it until he was right in front of me, but it’s the strongest bond on earth.”
What’s your relationship with social media as a new mom?
Allie: “I like social media and think it’s fun as long as I set boundaries for how I use it. It’s such a big part of life now, and I run three accounts. One is a business account for a restaurant my husband owns, one is my animal rescue Mother of Dogs, and my personal page. My personal page I set boundaries for. I was filming so much of daily life at one point just playing with Henry and mundane things that are sweet to me, but I had a moment of ‘why am I sharing ALL of this?’
Everyone has different levels of comfort with what they share and how much they expose of themselves, and I realized I wasn’t comfortable overdoing it. I like social media as an inspiration page. I love following accounts that inspire me in some way … travel, interior design, and fashion.
As soon as I recognized how I do and do not want to use the platform, my relationship with it became healthier. I love taking pictures, especially when doing something sweet with the family or of things that I think are beautiful and that I’m happy to be reminded of when I look back at my page. I don’t want to look at my page and remember a crappy moment or feeling. I’m comfortable and love taking pictures with and without my one-year-old, Henry, but I do feel uncomfortable sharing intimate details. Writing a gushing post to my husband about why I love him and what he does for us wouldn’t make sense because he would turn to me and say why didn’t you tell me that instead of writing it on social media. Lots of my friends have private accounts or use them strictly for business, and my husband would like it said in person, not online. I enjoy my page much more using it on my terms. Although I set boundaries now on how much I share, I enjoy following people who say it all. I admire the ability to put it all out there with no shame or second guessing. It’s all about finding what works for you. For me, it’s a dreamboard/Pinterest that I collect inspiration from and not an open diary.”
What do you want to poosh yourself to do more of as a parent?
Allie: “I think I’m learning to be more relaxed and less nervous about things. In the first few months, I called friends (definitely you, Kourt) a few times panicked about things that in hindsight were nothing. You are vulnerable as a parent in a way you can’t prepare for.”