Known for her popular role on Real Housewives of New York, Bethenny Frankel is set to create her own drama in Bethenny Getting Married? The new docu-series chronicles her day-to-day life: “It’s not big blowouts over cocktails or charity events,” the 39-year-old breakout reality TV starlet says, and adds, “It’s more dedicated to the struggles I go through: Being 39, getting engaged, getting pregnant, doing everything backwards.”
In a press conference to promote her new spinoff, Bethenny opened up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about entering motherhood: “It’s been very fish-out-of-the water.” The new mom also dished about her pregnancy (“I didn’t read any of the books”), her struggles with breastfeeding, and how she was once a commitment-phobe “runaway bride,” but is now “loving” her life with new hubby Jason Hoppy and their 3-week-old daughter Bryn.
CBS: We were so shocked when Bryn arrived 5 weeks early. Do you know why she was born premature?
BF: “I thought it was because I had been doing walking and yoga and active. The doctor said that there’s only two reasons that a baby would be premature and it’s either infection or unknown. They had no idea why [my] water broke early. I like answers and I have no idea.”
CBS: How is Bryn doing now?
BF: “She’s great. She’s perfect, she’s so sweet. She’s a really calm and good baby. I think because I’m so crazy, she’s just really calm. She’s definitely well over 6 pounds now. She eats so much so she’s making up for being so small. She was 5 lbs, 7 oz, so she’s well over 6 lbs now.”
CBS: Are you breastfeeding?
BF: “I am which is the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life. It’s so time-consuming and you really don’t have your own life…not that having a child you have your own life anyway. I haven’t even taken a shower today. I’ve been editing my book and [working]. But the feeding and the pumping is very time consuming. It’s worth the sacrifice and I love it and I love the time with her and I know it’s healthy and I should be on the cover of Juggs magazine. It’s rewarding, but it’s definitely challenging.”
CBS: We hear you’re also supplementing?
BF: “We supplemented when she was in the hospital. First of all, she was small and in the hospital they were feeding her in the NICU. I was going down there every 2 hours, but I had had the C-section so I couldn’t move the first day. It’s been very fish-out-of water.
So we started with me just getting the hang of breastfeeding and her doing the formula. And then we came home and she was spitting up all the time. Me being a natural food chef, I know about food intolerances and I could tell that something was wrong. Then we put her on soy which she was good with in the hospital, but once she started breastfeeding, it started getting better. She’s really now all on breastfeeding, but lots on the bottle.”
CBS: Are you feeling exhausted?
BF: “I’m feeling really exhausted because she sleeps when she’s supposed to sleep but they get up every 3 hours. Sometimes she goes 4 hours. Even if I can get a night’s sleep – because she’s drinking from pumping – I have to pump too because I’m all full. I didn’t realize that even if you have help with the baby, you still have to get up. So no, I’m not sleeping much.”
CBS: Do you have a nanny?
BF: “No not a nanny, we have a baby nurse. She’s here the whole entire time which is really great because I had never really changed a diaper, I had never really held a baby, so it’s been a real learning curve. Jason and I change her and feed her and bathe her. But it’s nice to have a baby nurse to tell you that you ‘have’ to get the burp out every time, or that you don’t put alcohol on the bellybutton thing. It’s comforting to have someone explain to you what’s going on.”
CBS: Were you relieved it’s a girl and how did you choose the name Bryn?
BF: “I was very relieved it was a girl! I really did want a girl for a number of reasons. We chose the name Bryn because my husband’s brother’s name was Bryan. He passed away in a car accident 19 years ago. I was with Jason visiting his brother at the cemetery when we were dating and I heard that name and I logged it and thought it would be a really nice name for a boy or a girl.”
During the press conference, Bethenny also commented on various hot topics such as her fellow RHONY costars. Where exactly does Kelly Bensimon stand on the crazy scale? Bethenny’s diagnosis: “She’s certifiable.” She adds, “Kelly’s got this nonsense bullying angle she’s working right now which is idiotic. She’s a 41-year-old woman! So anything she says you can’t really even listen to because she’s out of her mind.”
Bethenny considers giving birth less painful than observing Kelly’s infamous St. John breakdown. “The C-section was less painful than being away with Kelly. It was horrendous. Horrendous.”
And what about Jill Zarin‘s bogus birth announcement where she Tweeted that Bethenny gave birth a boy? “It wasn’t like she had to pick the winner of the Kentucky Derby,” Bethenny jokes. “All she had to do was do a 50/50 guess and she still didn’t get it right.”
Will Bethenny be saying farewell to RHONY now that she’s starring in her own series? “I don’t believe in staying at a party too long and I just don’t know what else there is to do there,” Bethenny says, and adds, “If I had a lesser part in it and I just dipped in and dipped out occasionally, then maybe. I have nothing to say to Jill. I see Alex and Ramona on my show which is nice and pleasant. The purpose I have on RHONY is to comment on how I feel. You’ll be seeing my life [on my new show], so I just don’t know what I’d be doing there.”
In reaction to the criticism about losing too much weight just 3 weeks after the birth of baby Bryn, Bethenny says, “You can’t win for losing and you have to take it with a grain of salt.” She adds, “I gained 35 pounds when I was pregnant and I gave birth 5 weeks early, so I probably would have been at 40 pounds which is a completely healthy amount to gain.”
But is she sending out the wrong message to women? Bethenny disagrees: “It sends out a message to be healthy before, during and after your pregnancy. I don’t think it’s a bad message. I didn’t do anything drastic and I didn’t do anything different.” She adds that her books help “women stay naturally thing without obsessing about it, without dieting and without worrying about it.” Bethenny adds that “I was in the hospital for 6 days,” and explains that she didn’t eat for many of those days due to labor and her C-section, which lead to a 6-7 pound weight-loss. She adds that the remaining weight was “baby stuff like water and things.”
She says that throughout her pregnancy she ate well, but not without indulgence. She adds, “I ate cheesecake, but not for dinner if I had it for lunch.” She says, “They say you should eat about 300 more calories a day and I’d say I ate about 4-500 more a day.” She adds, “Walking, doing yoga and just being normal,” helps the weight come off. Bethenny says that the people who have a “major struggle probably go off the rails and go to McDonald’s and Taco Bell.” She closes with, “I didn’t do anything different. I did exactly what I do all the time.”
Did Bethenny read all the pregnancy and motherhood books prior to Bryn’s arrival? “I did not read any of the books because I feel that when you read those books, you think all of those things are going to happen to you and then you expect it,” Bethenny says, and adds, “I didn’t have hemroids, or constipation, or throwing up, or lower back pain. The same thing goes for motherhood. If I have an issue, I’ll ask my girlfriend. But in general, I’m not a big fan of unsolicited advice. I don’t know any perfect people. Therefore, I don’t know any perfect mothers and I want this to be my own experience.”
Bethenny says that it’s been like “baby college” for herself and Jason and “there’s lots that we need to know about taking care of a baby.” She adds that the nurses at the hospital taught her and Jason a lot about babies. “I found out that babies wake every 3 hours – that was news to me,” Bethenny admits. She adds that the biggest shock of motherhood is that you “just don’t have any time to sit and rest.” She adds that she’s always on-the-go and is surprised how much work it takes to care for a newborn.
But just because she didn’t read any of the pregnancy and motherhood books, doesn’t mean she isn’t a conscientious mother. With Cookie the dog, Bethenny has been sure to make the transition as easy as possible for her 10-year-old “first love.” She says, “Every time I have the baby, I try to pet Cookie and talk to her in a nice voice. It’s been a bit of an adjustment. I’m just more concerned when the baby is a toddler. My vet told me to read Child Proofing Your Dog.” Bethenny adds that Cookie is “very cautious, but she seems to be OK” with baby Bryn around.
What are her summer plans with her new family-of-three? The Frankel-Hoppys will be making a trip to the Hamptons. While she’s looking forward to their getaway, she’s already dreading packing up baby Bryn. “The baby’s never leaving the house,” the cautious new mom jokes, and adds, “Just so you know, I’ve only taken the baby out once and I had a nervous breakdown.” She says, “I am excited, but the thought of how much it takes to schlep out to the Hamptons could give me a nervous breakdown.”
And what about her new show Bethenny Getting Married? RHONY “doesn’t really show me in my true light,” she says, and adds, “I’m not a woman who really hangs out with a lot of women. I focus mostly on work and my relationship.” Bethenny adds that she is often in her pajamas at home, and says, “I don’t really go out that much.”
Bethenny says that “the devil’s in the details” in Bethenny Getting Married? and while she admits, “I don’t pull my baby out of my you-know-what,” it does cover “what it’s like to have your water break 5 weeks early and what you put in your bag to go there [to the hospital].” She adds, “I’m the type of person that could have a C-section without any pain medication, but if you give me a smaller portion at the ice cream store, I might have a nervous breakdown.”
She says that the show will also highlight her therapy sessions. “It’s an ongoing theme,” Bethenny says of the televised counseling. “It was actually my idea to do therapy on the show because I need therapy!” She adds that working on herself is an important preventative measure to avoid a “mental breakdown.”
And will any of the housewives make an appearance on her new show? “There’s nothing orchestrated, there’s no drama, there’s no fighting,” Bethenny says, and adds, “Jill’s not on my show because Jill’s not in my life.”
In terms of including Bryn in the world of reality TV, Bethenny says, “She’s a little baby so it’s not like she does anything but it is a concern and it’s a conversation with my husband and myself. Once she’s older and when she’s more of a person, do we put her in a life that she didn’t sign up for? The answer is probably no and in moderation.”
And what about baby No. 2? Bethenny admits Jason would love to have another baby right away, but admits she’d have a “nervous breakdown” if another baby came along right now.
Bethenny’s new show, Bethenny Getting Married? premieres on Bravo June 10 at 10/9c.