The star of Life As We Know It shares her tips with HollyBaby.com for getting her daughter to stop crying, reveals her worst poopy diaper moment and confesses that the babies on the set of her new movie liked Josh Duhamel more than her!
Katherine Heigl loves being a mom to 20-month-old daughter Nahleigh, but like all first-time moms, it’s been a learn-as-you-go experience for the former Grey’s Anatomy star and her husband, Josh Kelley, 30. “New motherhood was all glorious and certainly overwhelming,” Katherine tells HollyBaby.com. “I was scared, but I have a great partner who really helped me.” But the 31-year-old says she’s now a diaper-changing pro and knows just what to do to calm Nahleigh down when she’s crying.
What are some tips you can share with new moms?
We’re really big on white noise to calm her down. We have a lamby that makes all kinds of sounds. In our house, it’s all about the bad acoustics. You can really hear all these noises. We turn the fans up just for the noise because she loves it and she stops crying. We will even resort to the vacuum cleaner.
What’s been the worst mommy moment you’ve had?
I just took her on a plane ride from LA to NYC. How do you change a baby on a plane? In an airplane they had this little table, I had to lay her across the toilet and kneel below her, which is so gross in an airplane toilet. In fact, it was brutal. I looked at my daughter’s poopy pants and said, ‘What did you eat?’ This is a funny story. She was with the nanny on the plane trying to sleep. Then I lifted my nose and noticed the entire plane seemed to smell like poopy diapers. I said to the nanny, “We better wake her up. This is nasty.” Now, I’m so committed to potty training.
Are you good at changing diapers?
I’m a pro now, I can get it done really quick. I don’t ask my husband and nanny to do it because I want it done my way. It must be my way. I’m a control freak who prefers to do it myself. It’s very apparent I’m a control freak.
You have such a wonderful, settled family life now. In your new movie Life as We Know It, you start out on a bad blind date and then end up inheriting your friends’ orphaned daughter. Do you remember your own worst blind date?
The worst was when I went out with a trainer. I was 18 and about 20 pounds heavier. I was trying really hard to work it off at the gym and my trainer asked me out. He shaved his legs — not that there’s anything wrong about it in case anyone else does out there. Anyway, he took me to Sizzler and gave me his headshot. He asked if I could get him into my acting agency. I said, “I knew it wasn’t the 20 pounds that turned you on.”
You adopted Nahleigh at around the same time that you started working on the movie. Was it tough dealing with the triplets who played your daughter in the film while also dealing with learning how to be a new mommy to Nahleigh?
I really took control of those kids on the set. They needed to know who was in charge — kidding. Thankfully, I had just gotten comfortable with holding a child. I would do the mother thing. It was natural.
What have you learned that works with your daughter that you can share with new moms out there?
You have to let go. If the baby is crying or uncomfortable and you’re uptight, it just makes it so much worse. The more uptight you are, the more uptight they are. I’ve also found that breathing exercises help. Just stop and take a few deep breaths and you will feel better. Also, don’t take it personally if your baby cries a lot. You just need to figure out what to do.
How was Josh Duhamel with your daughter and the babies on the set?
He was fantastic. In fact, he got to know those babies before we shot [the film] and they loved him. What do you want? They’re girls. They didn’t like me as much. At least, I had one of the kids on the set who did like me — that was my own daughter.
What was it like bringing your newly adopted daughter to the set?
I was all parallels. I was living on camera what I was living in my life. The outfits they put the triplets in for a scene were the same ones I might put my daughter in on the way to work that day.
How did you adapt to new motherhood?
I was handed a 9-month-old baby who was so new to me. I was new to her. There were so many questions and I allowed myself to ask them. It was all about what kind of diapers would we use, what kind of bottles. We had the same Pack ‘n Play that they had on the set. New motherhood was all glorious and certainly overwhelming. I was scared, but I have a great partner who really helped me.