Laila Ali, daughter of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, says she’s been able to find the right balance between work and motherhood since the birth of her 1-year-old son, Curtis Mohammad Conway Jr. The first-time mama and current undefeated Super Middleweight Boxing Champion of the world, sat down with Fit Pregnancy’s Mom & Baby and dished about her son Curtis Jr., her “hands-on” husband former NFL player Curtis Conway, and the challenges of new motherhood and breastfeeding.
On how becoming a mother has changed her daily routine: “I’m not on top of things like I normally am. I’ve got a pile of paperwork, messages to return and laundry that needs to be done. But you just get to a point where you have to say, ‘This is going to have to wait. It’s just not that important.’ I could hire a full-time nanny and be able to take care of everything, but I’d rather be there for my son and let the laundry wait.”
On her husband Curtis Conway’s parenting skills: “He is an excellent dad. He doesn’t just want to be involved; he is involved. He’s daddy and his role is just as important as mine. The first few times he got up at night with Curtis Jr., I would get out of bed and look over his shoulder. But once I saw he had it, I left him alone. He’s patient and loving, and he knows what he’s doing.”
On whether she has a nanny: “I do have a part-time nanny who is here three days a week, a few hours a day. At some point I broke down and decided to get some help so I could at least go to the gym.”
On how she spends her time with Curtis Jr.: “We have our playtime together when I let him crawl and play with his toys. He also goes wherever I go; I just pack him up and take him with me. Curtis Jr. doesn’t really slow me down at all. He’s a very easy baby.”
On the challenges of breastfeeding: “I breastfed for seven months, but for most of that time I was pumping and feeding Curtis Jr. by bottle. My husband is very hands-on and in order for him to help feed the baby, I decided to start pumping. The baby had only been breastfeeding for a week when I started; and as soon as he had a bottle, he wasn’t interested in breastfeeding anymore. I didn’t want Curtis Jr. to stop breastfeeding, and I missed that bonding time with him, but at the end of the day, I was happy he was getting my milk. At the six-month mark, I pumped just in the morning and at night and, soon after, my milk dried up. I would have liked to continue pumping, but I’m not going to sit around and mope about it. As moms, we’re never really in charge. We just think we are.”
To read Laila’s advice to new moms and her tips on getting into shape after giving birth, pick up September’s issue of Fit Pregnancy’s Mom & Baby, on newsstands now.