Melissa Rycroft: “I Wasn’t Physically Able To Breastfeed”

Melissa Rycroft: "I Wasn't Physically Able To Breastfeed"

Reality TV starlet Melissa Rycroft is reveling in new motherhood. The gorgeous Bachelor alum and her “amazing” hubby Tye Strickland welcomed their first child, Ava Grace, on February 16.

The 28-year-old first-time mom – who is teaming up with Huggies and the Every Little Bottom campaign – opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about her adorable 4-month old daughter who is “growing up way too fast and changing everyday,” her breast reduction surgery that left her unable to breastfeed, and her amazing postpartum weight loss: “I wish there was a magic pill after having a baby.”

CBS: How’s baby Ava doing?

MR: “She’s wonderful. She is growing up way too fast and changing everyday just like everybody said she would. It happens much quicker than you anticipate. She’s four months already!”

CBS: What kind of baby is she?

MR: “I think with every parent, your child is perfect. But we really couldn’t have done any better! She definitely has an independent and stubborn streak in her that she gets from a combination of both of us. She’s a really happy baby. She’s laughing and smiling all the time. She’s found her voice and she’ll sit there and babble to herself all day long. I can’t wait to hear what’s she’s actually saying once she’s forming words. It’s exciting to see this little personality come out everyday. It’s been really exciting.”

CBS: How did you come up with the name Ava Grace?

MR: “There’s really no romance to the story. My husband and I had been bouncing around a few names back and forth to each other. And then he was listening to the radio one morning and a woman named Ava had called in to ask a question. He then called me and said, ‘What about the name Ava?’ I thought about it and we started calling her Ava and we just never changed it – she became Ava. It’s a great name.”

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: What has been the biggest challenge of motherhood so far?

MR: “Having one this young, it’s just trying to keep your relationship the priority. And not to lose yourself in everything. It’s very easy to just let Ava define who I am and let Ava run our household. But at the end of the day, I’m still my own person and I still have my own wants, needs and desires in life. And, I have a husband and we have a great relationship that we want to keep strong.

Right now it’s hard because she’s definitely running the household and probably will be for a little while still. But those are two things that I never want to forget. That I was a person before she came along and I still have those same wants and needs and desires that I did before she came along. Even though they get put on the back-burner for a little bit, they’re still there. My relationship with Tye is still the biggest and most important relationship to me and we’re going to continue to make that a priority.”

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.”

CBS: Did you work out during your pregnancy as well?

MR: “I worked out up until about month No. 7. Anybody who’s been pregnant will tell you that after that it’s pretty much impossible. For the first two trimesters I tried to stay as healthy as possible. I ate really clean and I walked a couple miles every day. In my last trimester I tried to walk about a mile every day. I think that at that point, anything will help.”

CBS: How has Tye adjusted to fatherhood?

MR: “Tye is amazing! He is everything I pictured he would be. Ava has him so wrapped around her little finger already, it is not even funny. He helps out in ways that surprise me, to be honest. She’s been sleeping through the night, but if she does get up at 3 a.m., he gets up with her. I’ll get up and see him sitting with her in the living room singing to her. Or he reads her stories.

I love watching the bond that they are forming. As a mother, I don’t think there’s anything better you can see than your daughter and your husband forming that bond that you always hoped they would have. He’s amazing – everything that I could ask for in the father of my child.”

CBS: Tell us about partnering up with Huggies for their Every Little Bottom campaign.

MR: “Huggies came out with their denim diaper line. First of all, Ava looks adorable in them! They’re still a little big but I don’t care! When I heard about the opportunity to work with them, and they offered to throw Ava a sip and tea party, I learned more about their Every Little Bottom campaign and it’s such a great cause.

We definitely take things for granted and we don’t often think about the people out there that don’t have access to things like diapers. It’s something that I’ve been in such a fortunate situation that I haven’t had to think about that. If Ava runs out of diapers, I run to the store and buy a new box. When you sit down and think about it, you think, ‘Gosh, there are so many people out there that can’t do that and that is a struggle.’ Diapers are a necessity for children. So if there’s something out there that we can buy and it will benefit children, by golly let’s do it!

When I found out that when you buy those denim diapers from Huggies, they make donations to the Every Little Bottom charity which helps to diaper children who otherwise would not be diapered. It’s kind of a no-brainer and you go, ‘Absolutely!’ It’s a great cause and it’s a great diaper.”

CBS: What’s up next for you?

MR: “The next big thing is the release of my book, My Reality. It’s coming out probably in September. It’s taking a look back at the last four years of my life. It includes my roller coaster romance with Tye and my ‘don’ts’ when it comes to dating. It’s all about the crazy ride we’ve been on that has taken us here professionally and personally. It’s a fun story and I’m excited to tell it. It’s not really a memoir, it’s more of a love story. It’s not conventional at all. There’s no secret that I was on The Bachelor and Tye and I have known each other for six years. So when you do the math, there seems like there’s overlap there.

This crazy TV world that I live in is not anything that I ever dreamed of. I never thought it was possible for me and it was never anything that I really aspired to do, it just kind of fell in my lap. Because of all the crud that happened with Tye and I, I love going back and reading it and seeing the struggles that we had personally that led to the triumphs.”

CBS: Any chance for a reality TV series showcasing your family-of-three?

MR: “I learned pretty early on in this career to never say never. I know that I’ve been on reality TV and a lot of people associate me with that. I’ve gotten lucky and done things outside of the reality TV world. I’ve done some corresponding and ultimately, that’s my goal. But, if along the way someone decides that they want to see what we do behind the scenes, you never know.

We have always left moving to L.A. an open option. Right now we’re in Texas, but we’ve always said that if I get a job that I can’t say ‘no’ to, then we’ll go. As of right now, our life is here. Tye’s job is here and our family is here. We’re pretty content, but I’ll be honest, going back to work right now with Ava is really hard because it will mean that I travel. Right now, the three of us pick up and travel. We’re leaving again soon for three days, and it’s definitely difficult. I’ll be honest, if it stays like this, the moving question will probably be ringing a little bit louder in both of our ears.”

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Filed under: Celebrity Interview,Exclusives,Melissa Rycroft

Photo credit: Huggies

16 Comments »»

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  1. Anonymous

    It looks like she had a breast-removal, not breast-reduction. She literally has no chest.

    Reply
    • Amy

      that dress she is wearing is not flattering to her chest – she’s probably just small-chested (like myself) now. i am only a full A – small B, and if i wore a dress/shirt that looked like that, i would look very flat-chested as well.

      Reply
    • Anonymous

      LOL it might look that way from the pic because of her outfit and the angle but I’ve seen other pics of her and she’s definitely not flat chested.

      Reply
  2. Anonymous

    Not familiar with her Reality Show, but I found this interview interesting all the same. Seems to have a “down to basics”, healthy attitude about things – baby-related and life in general.

    I found her comment about about not exercising beyond 7 months a bit odd, especially coming from a (presumably) healthy 28 year old. I am no spring chicken (first child @ 38, second @40) nor am I an elite athlete, but I was working out until a couple of days before the birth of both kids (modified weight routine, light cardio) and lived to tell the tale.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      She did say she tried to walk a mile a day her last trimester so I think she did do some exercising, maybe just not what she would normally consider a real workout. She’s a dancer and has been on Dancing with the Stars so she’s definitely fit and has been used to doing some pretty intense workouts.

      Reply
    • Anonymous

      So, because you were able to do it, that means everyone should be able to? You know not every pregnancy or every person is the same, right? And that it has nothing to do with age or fitness level? It really is never a good idea to generalize from your own personal experience, whether talking about pregnancy or anything else. You have no idea what another person’s life or health is like.

      Reply
      • Grace

        She didn’t say that everyone should be able to work out at that point. She was responding to the comment Melissa made during the interview that everyone who has been pregnant knows that it’s impossible to work out at that point. Melissa was the one who was making generalizations, not the person you are responding to. Reading comprehension is key here.

        Reply
  3. Gisele

    I agree with Grace. And why in EVERY interview posted on CBS does there have to be that token someone who makes what someone says into something it’s not…? WTH?

    Reply
  4. gini

    Someone should have let her know that a breast pump doesn’t do the job quite like babies do. some women never do well with pumping milk but feed their babies just fine. Now everyone who has had a breast reduction and is thinking about breastfeeding will think its physically impossible because of that, which unless she had her nipples removed or something, it isn’t.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      So basically you are saying that no one can every discuss their personal experience because then everyone will just assume that it will be their own? If you really want to breastfeed and can, you will. If you really can’t or really don’t want to, then you won’t. What do you think we are a bunch of mindless robots that can’t have an original thought of our own?

      Reply
    • Anonymous

      Why would everyone think it’s impossible if they’ve had a reduction just because she was unable to? She says right in the interview that it depends on how the surgery goes.

      Reply
    • Grace

      I doubt that people will not even attempt to breastfeed after a breast reduction based on Melissa’s interview. There would be something seriously wrong with a person if they get their medical advice from a celebrity interview rather than from legitimate sources.

      Reply
    • Anonymous

      it actually sounds like her milk didn’t come in at all and that’s not necessarily related to a breast reduction. Some times a woman’s milk just doesn’t come in, with a breast reduction the milk still comes in you just may not produce enough to breastfeed exclusively (mammoplasty doesn’t remove all the milk glands)

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        You’re right. I had a breast reduction, and my milk still came in. I had colostrum first, then got engorged, then had regular milk, the whole nine yards. I just had less of it. Both nursing and pumping my first child produced miniscule amounts.

        As a side note, mothers who have had BRs are more likely to be able to successfully nurse subsequent children.

        Reply
  5. Anonymous

    All here mom

    Reply
  6. Anonymous

    I had a breast reduction 3 days ago. I’m actually surfing the web for post-op care stuff and googled melissa plus breast reduction out of curiosity. I’ve wanted to have this surgery since I was 16 (I’m 22 now) and the reason I waited so long was my fear that I would not be able to breast feed.

    I had a long conversation about this with my surgeon and she told me the fact is: “some women can, some women can’t. But there’s no way to tell if it was caused by the surgery, or if they wouldn’t have been able to anyway.”

    And that is why I finally went ahead with my surgery.

    Reply

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