Chyler Leigh: Anniston Kae Is ‘Pretty Much Perfect’

08/24/2009 at 06:00 PM ET

Chyler Leigh‘s family has been in the midst of a steady growth spurt for the past six years. But with the May 7th birth of their third child, Anniston Kae, the Grey’s Anatomy star and her husband, actor Nathan West, have found that parenting gets a little bit easier with each addition to their clan.

“Going from zero to one is a huge shock,” Chyler, 27, tells PEOPLE. “One to two was a little more challenging. Two to three was a bit more challenging, but once you get used to multiples you figure out how to put things together quicker. You learn how to organize. With number three coming, you get more confident as a mom. The third time around, you know what to expect. It’s like calm mom, calm baby.”

It doesn’t hurt that Anni, as they call her, is a mellow baby. “She started sleeping through the night at two months,” Chyler says of the infant, who was born just 10 days after Grey’s Anatomy‘s fifth season wrapped. “She’s such a happy baby. This one is just all smiles, and she talks a lot,” the actress notes. “She’s pretty much perfect.”

The well-behaved baby has already won over the actors on her mom’s hit show. “Justin [Chambers] nicknamed her Baby Elvis because of her mohawk,” Chyler says. The cast has showered the new arrival with gifts — mostly of the eco-friendly variety: “Justin got us organic cotton onesies, as well as gifts for the older kids,” she shares. “Eric [Dane] got us organic baby diaper ointment and lotions and Shonda [Rhimes] got us a huge Saks Fifth Avenue basket, which was really sweet.”

Brian Doben for PEOPLE for use on CBB

Click below for Chyler’s thoughts on the “tricky part” of going back to work, as well as a second photo!

Anni, who is going to set with her mom and a caregiver most days is “so easy going. She’s so happy to be held, but good at having her own independent time. That’s made a big difference,” she says. “I think she kinda knew she was coming into a hectic household!”

For Chyler, the “tricky part” of going back to work with a 3-month-old has been balancing the demands of a nursing baby with the Grey‘s schedule. “If I’m filming and have breastmilk, I’ll give her that, race back and have [Anni’s caregiver] supplement with formula,” she explains. “Sometimes she might get full formula. We’re taking it as it comes.”

Although Chyler initially thought Anni was “getting a lot of formula,” she admits that her schedule makes it difficult to pump. “There’s a guilt factor going on there — you want to give your kids the absolute best,” she explains. “Often moms are way harder on themselves, so there’s a lot of adjustment [there]. But it’s like, you know what, she’s obviously healthy. She’s loved beyond measure, and she’s a happy kid.”

And also the center of attention! Older siblings Noah Wilde, 5 ½ and Taelyn Leigh, 2 ½, have made the adjustment well, Chyler says. “Noah’s been great. He’s good at occupying himself. Taelyn, we had a short two weeks about a month after she was born where she got aggressive — it was an attention thing. We try our very best to make sure she gets one on one time with one of us or both of us. Noah is protective. If Taelyn wants to play with the baby, he says, ‘Be gentle.'”

Helping with the transition were a few new toys! “We went and bought a gift — a little green frog — for Anni [from Noah and Taelyn]. And we got gifts for the kids from Anni — Woody and Buzz dolls for Noah and a rocket from Little Einsteins for Taelyn. Anni knew exactly what to get!,” Chyler laughs.

For Chyler and Nathan, the addition of a third child — “a big surprise,” the actress admits — meant it was time to upgrade! “The car, the house. Everything gets bigger,” Chyler says. “We had to get a double stroller, we carry a lot more stuff and we have a lot more laundry.”

Chyler and her husband say that they don’t plan on making another addition to their family any time soon. “Three kids is a lot,” adds Nathan, 30. “But I couldn’t imagine our family without her. She just completed it.”

Brian Doben for PEOPLE for use on CBB

Source: PEOPLE, August 31 issue

— Lisa Ingrassia

FILED UNDER: Babies , Exclusive , Kids , News , Parenting

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Showing 31 comments

Jenna Lynn on

I love Taelyn’s dress, and how cute is she clutching Tigger in the last one!! All 3 kids are adorable!

mom to boys on

what a beautiful family picture. Not everybody is matching or looking like they are all dressed by a stylist. It’s the type of picture that depicts everybody’s true traits and personality.

K on

Aww.. cute family! Noah is like his daddy, the girls look like Chyler. And the presents from the cast are sweet.

Jessi on

So adorable! Beautiful.

Micheley on

Beautiful children, beautiful mommy, beautiful family!
I love the name Anniston.

Stella Bella on

Even before reading the article I thought Taelyn did not look very happy in those photos. Glad her parents are trying to help her make this difficult adjustment! 🙂

Stephany on

I really loved this interview! Chyler seems really down-to-earth. And all of her kids are so adorable! I love the name Taelyn, especially.

Christa Bledsoe on

Wow, what a beautiful family she has. She is very lucky 🙂

michelle on

My niece Zoe has a mohawk and we call it a Z0-Hawk. I love it. 🙂 Her kids are so cute. Those pics are great.

Kristi on

I didn’t notice the mohawk in the first picture…it kinda blends in with Chyler’s hair. How cute is that! I love when babies have hair that is out of control 🙂

Lex on

This family is absolutely stunning. I loved Chyler’s character from the very begining and after seeing some interviews and reading this article, I love Chyler as a person. She seems to be very well grounded for being so young, and having a young family.

And I also noticed that if West is Nathan’s last name, the Noah’s name is Noah Wilde West. That’s adorable.

Amber H. on

This is the baby I’ve been waiting to see! She is adorable and I love that they are calling her Anni. Chyler has a beautiful family!

Liliana on

What a beautiful family!

umma on

lovely family. i chuckle at her take on having a 3rd child–it’s certainly not “calm” or “organized” for me after having my 3rd baby! 😉

Tina. on

shes so cute! 🙂

Sam & Freya's Mum on

I admire people with 3+ kids, two is enough for us, lol. I guess going from 2-3 can imagine being used to the juggling act by then though! (personally I always keen on two, a sibling for our son and a nice even number, plus we’re not outnumered and hubby and I both only have one younger sis each so may have influenced us, smaller families, but each to own). What a nice family pic, love all of Anniston’s hair, a cutie! Like her older two kids’ names too.

CelebBabyLover on

AWWW! Anni is certainly a cutie, and I love how they introduced her! 🙂

Kat_momof3 on

I agree with so much of what she said and I love how honest she is about the stresses and challenges and about looking at the bigger picture and just letting those things not get you down.

I think it’s great she is giving her daughter all the breastfeeding she can without feeling guilty about the formula they have to use.

Jaedyn on

Their kids are adorable!

SAR on

That is one gorgeous family…and it appears that the girls, Anni and Taelyn, look like their dad, whereas the boy, Noah, looks more like his mom.

merry on

Adorable young family!

Brooklyn on

What a beautiful family! Chyler looks gorgeous and Anniston is adorable!

Rach on

Oh wow ! I knew her name sounded familiar ! This is the girl from the Marilyn Manson video for “Tainted Love”.

Thrifty Sisters Coupon Clipping Service on

I don’t know who they are but they are such a beautiful family.

SofieBee on

I really wish I hadn’t clicked on that Marilyn Manson link. LOL! Cute family and I don’t see what the problem is with Taelyn. Looking unhappy, someone said? I just don’t get how you can surmise so much from those particular photos. But, then again, I’m not looking for something negative to say.

All Women Stalker on

That is an amazing photo! The colors are so crisp. Love the princess costume, too.


lace wigs on

very nice family.

Kelly on

Thanks for the article and picture. That is such a beautiful family and seem down to earth. Chyler is a great actress. Lexie and Mark/Lexie are my favorite on Grey’s. I think the cast gifts were sweet and nice touch from Justin Chambers in getting all the kids gifts. Sounds good that the cast and set is family/baby friendly.

April on

Chyler looks beautiful here! I am falling in love with the name Anniston-but I would do 1 n assuming I wouldn’t get a bunch of team Jen’s on my case! I like reading about this family.

Brooke Davis on

Chyler and her family are both gorgeous and they look unbelievably happy. It’s so amazing that she is so young and already juggles 3 kids with her job on Grey’s Anatomy. Noah, Taelyn, and Anniston are all gorgeous and Chyler and Nathan look like they couldn’t be happier or prouder. I wish them all the happiness in the world. 🙂

Jamie on

Very adorable family. I am a huge fan of this family. Chyler is beautiful and I respect her so much cos she knows what the most important thing in life is. That is family. I wish them a very happy married life that would last forever.