Laura Benanti on her new baby: We would sleep for 2 hours out of 24

I know Laura Benanti, 37, from Nashville, where she played a country singer escaping a domestic abuser. You may know her for her impression of Melania Trump on Colbert, or for her role as twins on Supergirl. She’s also a Broadway star, having won a Tony and is currently starring on TBS comedy The Detour, with Natalie Zea and Jason Jones. She’s doing a two show concert with her mother, Linda, also a Broadway actress and singer, over the weekend.

So Benanti has her plate full, and she also has a new baby at home. She gave birth to her first child, daughter Ella Rose Benanti-Brown, on Valentine’s Day. (Benanti has been open about the fact that she experienced a first trimester miscarriage in 2015.) I wouldn’t normally cover her, but I found her candor about caring for her daughter so refreshing and funny. She admitted that there was a time when she and her husband barely slept because the baby would be up most of the day.

How has the transition to motherhood been?
Ella is amazing and I love her so much, but it’s hard. When you follow people on Instagram or social media, all you see are pictures of their adorable babies and animal ear hats. What you don’t see is a lot of the exhaustion and figuring stuff out. It’s a huge adjustment to suddenly be caring for this precious little person. My husband and I are absolutely in love with her and also exhausted. We don’t know what we’re doing. Why did they let us go home with a baby?

Have you been sleeping at all?
Only recently. She’s had a lot of belly problems, so for a while weren’t sleeping at all. We would sleep for maybe two hours in a 24-hour period, but lately she has been doing better.

What’s a typical day like with Ella?
A lot of feeding, a lot of changing of diapers, a lot of bouncing her up and down on the yoga ball, a lot of consoling her and a lot of waving a rattle in front of her… I take her for walks, but I don’t ever leave the house for me unless I’m going to a doctor’s appointment. I’m not exercising and lunching with friends [because] it’s been pretty consuming. Right now, I’m taking her to a baby osteopath. It’s essentially like a chiropractor for babies.

[From ETOnline]

I love that she’s telling it like it is and isn’t pulling any punches. Her day with a newborn is challenging, it’s mundane, she sounds like she gets overwhelmed and she’s not fronting like everything is amazing. When my son was first born he also had a lot of stomach problems and I went on this crazy elimination diet (I was nursing) to try and figure out what was causing him problems. I eliminated all gluten, dairy and red meat and was just drinking rice milk and eating things like plain chicken and turkey. It was easier to lose the baby weight but I was just so tired. My husband and I got barely any sleep and I remember how hard it was – vaguely. It goes so fast too.

Also, after writing all this I found this really lovely Instagram that she wrote about her experiences as a new mom.

Being a new mom can be hard. Or at least it can be for me. Maybe there are new moms out there who sail blissfully through the days, cherishing each little moment, utterly confident in their new mom-ness. But for me, sometimes it's really hard. Hard because I doubt myself. Hard because I'm tired. Hard because when I'm tired it's challenging to honor my own intuition. Hard because the outside voices of (mostly) well meaning advisors can overwhelm and confuse me. Hard because I'm lonely. Hard because my hormones are bananas. Just. Hard. And then tonight, while feeding my daughter–with a bottle–something that continues to be a source of deep sadness and a never ending quest to find a solution–I had a brief moment of clarity. This time, while seemingly interminable in moments, is actually flying by. She will never be this small again. I can either spend these days judging myself, and wishing for things to "get easier" or I can try to take it moment by moment. I hope to always remember tonight. How she looked up at me while I was feeding her and smiled. How she fell asleep on my shoulder. How my doubt and worry was momentarily quieted by my deep love for her, and how–at least for a moment–I let that love extend to myself.

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Best 👏carrier👏hands👏down @lillebaby #NotAnAd #JustAHappyMama #líllébaby

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PSA in two parts

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17 Responses to “Laura Benanti on her new baby: We would sleep for 2 hours out of 24”

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  1. Char says:

    How the f**k can someone approach you in the street and ask you about the way you feed your baby? A punch would be a more appropriate answer.

    • Lola says:

      I cannot tell you how many people think it’s appropriate to ask me if I’m breast feeding my newborn. Unfortunately, due to a number of circumstances I’m unable to breastfeed, but I don’t have to explain that to complete strangers. Obviously I know the benefits of breastmilk; however, a fed baby is the best baby.

  2. greenmonster says:

    Wow! How much of an a..hole can you be, to walk up to a woman and tell her it is better to breastfeed?!

    • Doodle says:

      An old woman walked up to me in Walmart right after I had breastfed my 2 month old daughter. My baby was fussing because she was sleepy and she was always vocal before having a nap. All of a sudden the women said “I think she’s hungry” and shoved her Lee Press On nailed finger into my daughter’s mouth. I was STUNNED! Like, get your grimy digits out of my kid, grandma! People really don’t know what’s appropriate behavior.

      • CityGirl says:


      • Beckysuz says:

        No she did not?!?!? I would lose my damn mind if a stranger shoved their dirty finger in my newborn’s mouth. So much nasty stuff can collect underneath nails. What is wrong with some people?

  3. Ninks says:

    Wow. That woman who approached her deserves a slap. Wtf does she think she is to judie anyone like that? Bitch.

  4. littlemissnaughty says:

    I’m over it. We need to shut this sh*t down whenever someone approaches us and decides to comment on our looks/smile/clothes/behavior/child’s behavior/breastfeeding/bottlefeeding/makeup or the goddamn way we breathe. Women are too nice. I get it, don’t antagonize the drunk dude in a dark parking lot but in broad daylight, in the middle of restaurants or supermarkets, there is no reason to be polite about this anymore. I’ve had it. And I don’t have kids. I’ve recently applauded nurmerous moms with daughters who are a bit loud, stubborn, or say things like “Look at my drawing, it’s great!” YES it is, don’t you ever forget that! Little girls are so f*cking fierce and then society decides to nip that in the bud. God I am NOT in the mood today.

    Sorry for the rant.

    Also, her Melania impression was hilarious.

    • CityGirl says:

      I am with you 1,000,000 %

    • AMA1977 says:

      Thank you. I have a daughter like that, and I am fighting so hard to make sure that she keeps that spirit and sass. Guiding her so it doesn’t seem like she is being raised by wolves, teaching her manners so she responds appropriately in the world, but I am determined to get her to adulthood with her stubborn streak and spirited nature largely intact.

  5. Emily says:

    We had baby #3 about 3 months ago and it’s amazing how you can go through such a huge upheaval of your whole life over and over and yet still forget that you’ll come out of it with a new normal. Like, it won’t always be this terrible and chaotic and eventually you’ll get back to doing things other than holding and feeding a baby. And I really resonate with her feeling of “they’ll never be this little again.” I’ve already forgotten what she was like as a brand-newborn, let alone my other two kids. Long story short, having a new baby is terrible and wonderful.

    Also, how awful of that woman. Babies need food. That’s it.

    • Verona says:

      Yes you nailed it!! Having a new baby is terrible and wonderful and the same time, that’s exactly how I felt when I had my first lol.

  6. Sarah says:

    I love Laura Benanti as a singer and actress. And her honesty about her experiences with miscarriage, pregnancy, and motherhood have been empathetic and relatable. Love to her and her family.

  7. courtney says:

    @LittleMissNaughty that rant was well placed some people don’t know when to mind their own business. what about moms who want to nurse and a legitimately unable to do so for any number of reasons weather from birth or from an accident their child had as an infant for example Theo Dahl was run over by speeding taxi cab when he was just over 4 months old in December 1960 when the carriage he was in was pulled from the nannies hands as she was walking home from his sister Tessa’s New York preschool after picking her up. after the incident the nanny tried to quit but the family wouldn’t let them because it wasn’t her fault the baby was injured it was the speeding taxi drivers

    • V says:

      People need to mind their own business no matter what the reason is for not breastfeeding. It’s like how fat shamers realized that their language is not acceptable so they all changed their tune to “it’s about their heeeaaallllth…”

      If I don’t want to breastfeed, I don’t need a medical reason. In fact, I don’t need ANY reason because anyone can decide to bottle feed if they want to and it’s no one else’s damn business.

  8. Cupcake says:

    I have a 2-week old right now so I’m neck deep in the wonderful/terrible! The curly newborn body, the perfect smell, and the cuddles when he’s balled up on chest are Heaven. The sleep deprivation and the sore nipples are brutal but my newborn is often more manageable than my 4-year old!

  9. Jane Q. Doe says:

    Laura is amazingly talented & hilarious. Would have loved to see her concert this week!