Aly Michalka Welcomes First Baby, a Boy, with Husband Stephen Ringer: 'Everything We Could Imagine' (Exclusive)

"It was a very peaceful and calm birth, which is really what we were hoping for," the Aly & AJ musician and actress tells PEOPLE

<p>Stephen Ringer</p> Aly Michalka and Jack Francis Michalka Ringer

Stephen Ringer

Aly Michalka and Jack Francis Michalka Ringer
  • Aly Michalka and husband Stephen Ringer welcomed their first baby, son Jack Francis, on April 21, PEOPLE can exclusively reveal

  • The singer and actress went into labor while recording her and sister AJ Michalka's upcoming album

  • "He's just a great little guy," says Aly of her baby boy, who arrived about two weeks ahead of her due date in a home birth

Aly Michalka is a new mom!

The Aly & AJ musician and actress, 35, has welcomed her first baby, son Jack Francis, with husband Stephen Ringer in a home birth at their Santa Barbara residence after nine years of marriage, PEOPLE can exclusively reveal.

"It was a very peaceful and calm birth, which is really what we were hoping for," says Aly of Jack, who arrived on Sunday, April 21 — about two weeks ahead of her due date — at 6:40 a.m. and weighed 6 lbs., 10 oz. "He's just a great little guy. He's got a really special disposition about him."

Choosing the baby's name was simple for the couple. At the top of their brief list of options was Jack, inspired by Aly's late grandfather on her mom's side, while Francis is a Ringer family name. "We just kind of knew immediately like, 'Oh yeah, he's a Jack,'" she explains.

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Related: Aly Michalka Is Pregnant! Singer Expecting First Baby with Husband Stephen Ringer (Exclusive)

Planning the birth, on the other hand, was a bit more complicated. Before Jack's arrival, Aly and her sister, AJ, were working on their next album in Topanga Canyon. The musician knew they "were cutting it close" to her due date, but she didn't expect him to be early.

Aly initially planned to have the baby in a hospital with a "great doctor" before speaking with a midwife and realizing her "ideal birth" would be unmedicated and natural.

"Every woman's birth is really their own journey and their own choice," the iZombie alum says. "But I do feel like our medical system intervenes in ways that can be really harmful for women and really traumatic for not only themselves, but for their baby. For me, it felt like a great way to be able to avoid that."

Given the recording studio's distance from their home, Aly and her husband put a "backup plan" in place to welcome Jack at a nearby Airbnb and had her "full birth kit" ready to go. In the morning on April 19, while hanging out at AJ's Los Angeles house, Aly's water broke — and they luckily had enough time to drive back to Santa Barbara.

She was in labor for about 50 hours in total, including six hours of active labor, with a support system including Ringer, a "wonderful midwife" Bliss and two "angel doulas" Ivy and Mary. "It was just wonderful. It was really everything we could imagine it would be," says Aly, who didn't face any complications throughout the process.

Since giving birth, spending time with Jack has been "magical" for the parents. "For the first week, I was in bed and just getting fed yummy meals by my husband, hydrating, sleeping with [Jack] and feeding him," Aly details. "And a lot of diaper changes."

To coincide with welcoming her first child, Aly is partnering with Huggies — a brand she wore as an infant.

"Their ethos is really great and very much on brand with what I want for him as a baby," the new mom says. "He has sensitive skin and obviously doesn't want to be wearing a diaper that is going to irritate him, make him fussy or have a diaper rash."

Related: Aly & AJ Describe Their New Album as a 'Love Letter' to Fans and Tease Nostalgic Tour Setlist

The "Potential Breakup Song" singer is a big fan of the brand's Skin Essentials line as well as its recently-launched collection of baby clothes. "We've been able to take him out in his little Huggies outfits with the diaper bag and do some adventures to the beach and out to dinner," she says. "We definitely wanted to get him accustomed to traveling early on."

One week after giving birth, Aly felt physically and mentally ready to return to the studio and continue working with AJ on their upcoming album — and Jack joined as well. "He took to the change really well. He was very much a little chameleon in that sense," she notes, "and I think we got lucky with the fact that he didn't have really any major sleep issues."

For Aly, "the most wild part" of postpartum is "needing to wear a diaper" as she experiences leakage and bleeding while giving her body time to recover. "I've tried to be kind to myself and not feel pressured to immediately get back to the size that I was," she admits. "If I don't reach that for a little while, that's okay."

Looking forward, Aly's excited to bring Jack on tour once the new album is released and anticipating simple milestones, from trying "pizza and ice cream" to visiting her "mom's ranch with all the horses, little animals and dogs running around."

When it comes to parenting, she feels "ready to take on this new responsibility" with Ringer, who has helped keep the journey fun — largely by laughing through it with his wife.

"We were trying to take Jack's passport photo the other day because he's traveling soon since I have work. We were just laughing, trying to get a photo of him with his face straight-on instead of turned to the side, or his eyes closed," says Aly. "I was like, 'It's good that we're laughing through this and not stressing or upset or crying or whatever, because you could so easily turn a moment that maybe isn't super stressful into a stressful one if you just look at it the wrong way."

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