Mandy Moore on taking time to bond with her son before giving birth again: 'I feel like I'm making up for lost time'

Mandy Moore on her second pregnancy, breastfeeding and her festive (and fashionable) plans for the holidays. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)
Mandy Moore on her second pregnancy, breastfeeding and her festive (and fashionable) plans for the holidays. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers) (Quinn Lemmers/Getty)

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It's a sweet time in Mandy Moore's life. Having said goodbye to the NBC tearjerker This Is Us after six seasons, the singer and actress is savoring a little break ahead of the impending arrival of her second son. In June, Moore made the difficult decision to cancel the rest of her 2022 tour dates in order to prioritize her pregnancy and focus on her family, which includes musician husband Taylor Goldsmith and their 18-month-old son, Gus.

Speaking to Yahoo Life just a few weeks before giving birth, Moore opened up about balancing her work and home life. The Emmy-nominated star returned to the This Is Us set a month after delivering Gus last year, but was able to have him at work with her.

"I totally understand the privileged position that I'm in," the star, 38, shared. "The fact that I was able to have my child, and then be in a position with a job where I was allowed to bring him with me — obviously with support — so I could bond with him and I could nurse him and feed him and spend time with him when I wasn't working — I know that is not the situation that most parents find themselves in. So I'm very grateful and acknowledge that. But yeah, I think like any working parent, it's really hard to find that balance and the guilt is real."

She feels "lucky" to have had the past few months to just rest at home with her boys — not that there's much rest when a toddler is involved, she notes with a laugh.

"It's a completely different experience going through this pregnancy with a wild toddler to sort of chase around," the Tangled star says. "It's been incredible to have this, like, unfiltered, unadulterated, just Gus time before he's a big brother, before there's another little man in the picture that will demand a lot of my attention.

"I'm just excited to have this bonding time to find our rhythm together and to figure out what our days are gonna be," she adds, "because my husband is a touring musician and he's been on the road for the most part, and will be until this next one comes. So it's just been Mom and Gus time. And I feel like I'm making up for lost time just because work was what it was, and I didn't get to spend — like most parents — the time that you would want."

In a fun twist on "Take Your Child to Work Day," Moore was able to have both Gus and Goldsmith by her side (and baby No. 2 in her belly) for her new campaign for Gymboree's Holiday Capsule Collection, which features holiday card-ready outfits for the entire family. While Moore has partnered with the children's brand in the past, the holidays hold a special place in her heart, and getting to include her loved ones was icing on the cake.

Moore appears alongside husband Taylor Goldsmith and son Gus in Gymboree's new holiday campaign. (Photo: Gymboree)
Moore appears alongside husband Taylor Goldsmith and son Gus in Gymboree's new holiday campaign. (Photo: Gymboree) (Gymboree)

"It was kind of our last family photo shoot as a family of three," says the actress, who calls herself a "sucker for a good holiday plaid." "I don't do too much stuff in a public forum with my husband and with Gus, so this was a really special project. ... I'm just very grateful that Gus was game to get all dressed up. It's the cutest thing — especially all of the accessories, the shoes and the hats and the bow ties and the suspenders and all of that stuff. Being able to see him dressed up like that just makes my heart melt."

The former teen pop star says she fantasizes about the holiday season all year long, and is looking forward to taking both her little boys to meet Santa for the first time this year.

"Last year Gus was still young," she says of her oldest, who swapped his usual "easy-breezy" toddler wardrobe for a green velvet vest and matching trousers, festive matching jammies and reindeer antlers for the Gymboree campaign. "He was obviously not as cognizant of the holidays and its significance and didn't understand the tree or unwrapping gifts or any of the fun stuff.

"You look forward to experiencing the holidays through your kids' eyes. Now he's 18 months and you know, by the time the holidays roll around he'll be on his way to almost 2," she continues. "So it'll be fun to kind of clock what he's taking in this year and being able to, as a family of four, start these new traditions — just being around family and friends with other kids and baking cookies and listening to holiday music and decorating the tree and driving around and looking at decorations and lights. Those are all things that I loved doing as a kid, and I hope to kind of impart that on my kids as well."

As her due date nears, Moore has been candid about her feelings about going through another unmedicated childbirth; the singer has the autoimmune disorder immune thrombocytopenic purpura, which prevents her from getting an epidural. As far as what her feeding journey will entail the second time around, she tells Yahoo Life she's "open." Nursing Gus until he was 10 months old — at which point "he was done and he had lots of teeth and I was OK with it," she laughs — was a relatively smooth experience, but she understands that may not be the case for her younger child.

"I know it's different for everybody, and there's just this immense expectations on new parents to be able to be able to nurse immediately, in that it's going to be this, like, beautiful, glorious moment without any sort of stumbles and pitfalls," she says. "And that's obviously not the case for most people. I feel lucky that my journey with nursing wasn't an entirely complicated one. I had a good supply and Gus latched well from the beginning, but that doesn't mean that it was easy. I mean, life sort of revolves around those two, three-hour increments for a very long time of either being there to nurse your baby or stressing out [and trying to] figure out, where am I gonna pump? How am I gonna pump? Where am I gonna put the milk? How am I gonna get it back to my baby?"

Even though she had Gus on set with her, getting the timings right — between her work and his naps — for feeds and pumping was a "delicate balance."

"That was the biggest surprise for me, when it came to the nursing and feeding journey, was just how available you had to be for such a concentrated amount of time," she says. "And it was beautiful and enriching and I loved it —and my God, it was the most painful thing. Those first few weeks with like bleeding, cracked nipples and all of that that everybody sort of experiences. And then our journey sort of came to an end. He was finished and I thought it was gonna be way more emotional because I was ready to nurse him until he was well over a year, but he stopped and I was OK with it, and we added some formula to his diet and then he got onto regular milk and now he's eating food and not drinking milk anymore. It's just wild, the different phases that they go through. But yeah, it's certainly not easy, and I have a lot of compassion for however you are able to feed your child. As they say, 'fed is best.'

"I'm kind of open to see what this next experience is going to be as well," Moore adds. "I'm not counting my chickens and just expecting that it will be easy for me to nurse again. Who knows what it's going to be. I'm kind of prepared for any experience with the next baby, and really open to whatever he needs it to be."

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