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Alyson Hannigan Chats With CBB!

12/17/2009 at 08:00 AM ET
Kevin Perkins/Pacific Coast News

It’s been a banner year for Alyson Hannigan — to say the least! Nominated for a People’s Choice Award for her work on How I Met Your Mother, the 35-year-old actress became a first-time mom as well, to 8-month-old Satyana Marie.

With so much going on it’s no wonder Alyson is looking for ways to save time, and she’s found a great one in Cascade Complete All-in-1 ActionPacs. Convenient and efficient, the tiny tabs eliminate the need to pre-wash dishes before loading into the dishwasher, buying Alyson a few extra minutes with baby girl and husband Alexis Denisof when there is rarely a minute to spare.

She recently chatted with Celebrity Baby Blog about her homebirth, the inspiration behind Satyana’s name, balancing family with work, and more. Click below to read our interview.

It has been a big year for you personally and professionally. What tips do you have for other working moms?

Yes, working and being a full-time mom can be very difficult to balance. For one, I keep a calendar with all of my appointments and commitments, whether they are work related or personal. It helps me to avoid schedule conflicts and keeps the importance of my family life on par with my work life.

Also, to save time and energy, my husband and I invest in effective household products that go a long way. For instance, we only run our dishwasher when it’s all the way full. Cascade ActionPacs are no fuss — we toss the little packet into the dishwasher dispenser and our dishes come out clean the first time.

Lastly, since I’m on the topic of kitchens, I keep a white board on the fridge so I can write down groceries as I run out so my shopping list is completed before I even go to the store.

Congratulations on your homebirth! Was it something you always knew you would pursue? Did you ever waver on that decision as your due date neared?

It wasn’t something I knew I was going to do before I got pregnant, but once I was pregnant, I did more research and I watched The Business of Being Born and that sealed the deal.

It’s not the right choice for everyone, but it definitely was for me. I never wavered on it. I knew if I needed to go to the hospital I would, but thankfully everything went well and it was a magnificent experience.

Can you tell us about Satyana’s homebirth? Was it what you anticipated?

It was a great experience — we did it in a birthing tub. Never once was I unhappy that I was not in a hospital. I was very grateful that I was in the privacy of my own home.

What has been the biggest challenge of motherhood thus far? The biggest surprise?

The biggest surprise is how much stuff babies need. First of all, our house has 2 dishwashers and I thought, why would I ever need two dishwashers, but between the breast pump parts, the bottles and the dishes, I’d consider getting a third dishwasher!

Can you tell us some of Satyana’s latest milestones?

She rolls over a lot now and she has her first two teeth. She’s been saying mama and mom for the past couple of months, although I’m not sure she knows that mama is me. She usually says it when she wants something—and it works.

What was the inspiration behind Satyana’s first name, and would you share her middle name with our readers?

The root of her name means ‘truth’ in Sanskrit, and we added the ‘ana’ to make it go better with my husband’s last name, which is Russian. Her middle name is Marie after my aunt. We often call her Sati though.

What baby gear, if any, have you found most helpful?

Wow that’s a good question. The stroller is essential — I really like the bassinet part of the stroller. Sometimes she rolls over on her belly in the stroller and peers out to see where she’s going.

If you could give an expectant first-time mom just one piece of advice, what would it be?

Don’t believe the people that try to freak you out about the birth. The best advice someone gave me was that giving birth is not like ‘I broke my arm pain,’ it’s more like ‘I’m running a marathon pain’ — all about endurance.

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Showing 37 comments

Lynn on

I love Aly! I’m glad she gave this interview. It’s also nice knowing Satyana’s middle name.

martina on

I wish Alyson were asked about her workout routine. Like many celebrities she “credited” breastfeeding with losing baby weight. Which is true, the weight comes off within 6 weeks, at least it did for me. But after that, I had to work out to regain the shape. I feel strongly that most celebrities (thankfully not all) neglect to mention that they work out (do yoga, run, work with a personal trainer) several times a week. That really misleads other woman into believing that breastfeeding alone should get them back in shape, and then leaves them feeling inferior when it doesn’t.

RubyinEngland on

Watching The Business of Being Born was an important step in my decision to have my baby at home too even though I’m in the UK. Having my daughter at home was the best experience of my life :)

Satyana is a little cutie and Alyson seems like a fantastic mum – well done!

Vanessa on

I love Alyson! She seems like a really nice person. Her daughter is so cute, and her whole family together is lovely!

Janna on

“Don’t believe the people that try to freak you out about the birth.”

This is absolutely ESSENTIAL advice!

Betsy on

I read the post and thought huh… how did Cascade dishwasher tabs get into the conversation. Seems strange how in conversation with a website you would bring up your love for a dishwasher tab. Perhaps more like a way for this site perhaps to segue a product plug. If I’m right, rather have a straight out ad, rather than connecting someone with a product, even something as simple as that. And, hey if she’s chatting about Cascade ActionPacs — ok, happy cleaning.



The interview was done as part of her promotion for the Cascade product she’s representing.

- CBB Staff

Melissa on

Great interview, i love her!

Elizabeth on

Great interview! Interesting story behind the name, though to be honest when I first glanced at the name I thought it was Satan, glad it’s not, lol.

Kadi on

I watched “The Business of Being Born”. I wasn’t a fan only because I ended up having a problem while giving birth. I don’t know what I would have done if I had been at home. The doctor gave me peace of mind and was able to fix my problem.

Sarah Lipoff on

I really like Alyson’s choice of name – Satyana is so interesting and Marie adds such a traditional spin to it! Kudos to her for doing a home birth!

Lis on

They call her “Sati”? Sorry, but that is pretty awful in my opinion.

Jessicad on

I didn’t know she had a homebirth, good for her! I’m really starting to consider more options for my next one, my first delivery left me feeling out of control and empty. I don’t even remember most of it because of what the pitocin and epidural did to my blood pressure, and my water broke at home and arrived at the hospital at 6cm, I still don’t know why they gave me pitocin. They had to take my daughter to the nicu right after she was born because of the stressful labor. I’d be afraid I wouldn’t have that feeling of comfort at home like Alyson said she had, we have this idea that hospitals are where we need to be to feel safe. I need to watch that movie, I keep hearing about it! Anyhow, I love the nickname Sati, it’s cute!

Ply on

Does anyone find it curious that women always go on and on about how hard it is to work AND be a mom (even if they only have one child), yet you never hear men say it’s hard to be a dad and work? Sometimes I feel like women are almost being ANTI-feminist when they make statements like that. Can’t we just say it’s hard to be a working parent?

Ply on

Kadi, would the doctor have been able to fi the problem if the baby had been born at home? That’s what I always wonder about home births. People say they are safe as long as the doctor says the pregnancy is safe, but how can you foresee what will happen during labor?

Jaedyn on

This is so cute! I didn’t know that her middle name is Marie. LOVE it!

fuzibuni on

Kadi and Ply,

I’m not a midwife, so I can’t speak with too much authority on the subject. However, I’ve been reading extensively about homebirthing to see if it’s something I would be comfortable with. Like you, the last thing I want is to be stuck at home with a life threatening problem during labor.

From what I’ve read so far, pregnant women should have the same level of prenatal care regardless of what type of birth they choose to have. They should be routinely screened for potential birth problems in a doctors office and get ultrasounds etc. Most complications can be determined before labor begins, in which case a midwife would not recommend giving birth at home.

If everything checks out normal, and both mother and baby are healthy, then a woman can proceed to have a home birth. However she should have a back up doctor arranged at a nearby hospital just in case she needs to transfer. A well trained Certified Nurse Midwife will be able to check the heartbeat, determine if there is fetal stress, and tell if your labor is not progressing normally. If necessary they can arrange to transport you and your baby to a hospital.

Of course each woman needs to determine what types of personal responsibility she is willing to take for her birth. There are risks on both sides of the fence.

Currently, it seems that most are more comfortable at a hospital because they feel safer there… but personally, I am not comfortable with the level of intervention and risk of c-section that happens at hospitals. But that is just my personal choice and not everyone needs to feel the same way I do.

Each type of birth… home, hospital, and birthing center have pros and cons. Just read a lot, listen to other people’s stories and make an informed decision that works for you. The best thing is to know your options and get educated.

If you want more info about homebirthing you can check out Rikki Lake’s website http://www.mybestbirth.com and Ina May Gaskin’s website http://www.inamay.com (she is a well known midwife who has written several books on the subject of homebirth and child rearing.)

Good luck!

Sonya on

I love her and Satyana is the cutest:-)

Great to hear about another celebrity doing a homebirth, I did it twice and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sonya on

Oh, just wanted to add that i loved that interview with Alyson and Alexis talking about the birth.

acidstars9 on

Ply, society still has the same outdated beliefs that a man’s primary responsibility is to provide financially for his family and child care and other responsibilities come second. For a woman, it is opposite, she is expected to be a mother first and have a career second. Men are becoming more involved in parenting, but we still have this strange phenomenon where women are supposed to have their careers but also be the primary parent at the same time. Men are still treated as if parenting comes second.

Valerie on

Lovely woman, lovely baby, lovely photo.

But does she have any idea how toxic dishwasher detergent is for babies and adults alike. Are a few extra minutes worth the risk?

Odd when the site promotes so much organic product…

Bella on

Aly and Satyana are gorgeous. I love this interview. I’m so happy to finally know Satyana’s middle name. I think Alyson has earned herself another vote for the people’s choice awards ;)

JT on

I freaking love her!!! Love her, love the baby, love the interview! :D

millefleur on

I loved listening to her birth story. It was on: http://www.mybestbirth.com/page/alyson-hannigan-alexis

CelebBabyLover on

Valerie- Dishwasher detergent is toxic? That’s the first I’ve heard about that….and my family has had a dishwasher for years and none of us has suffered any ill effects from it. :)

Lis- Alyson has said that Satyana is pronuced like Tatiana, but with an S instead of a T. Therefore I’m guessing that they pronunce Sati to rhyme with Tati, I common nickname for Tatiana. :)

Valerie on

You are very fortunate, celebrity baby lover :)

Elle on

I had no idea she had a home water birth and I’m so happy her experience was positive! Her little one is adorable! I too wanted to have a home water birth, after watching The Business of Being Born. However, by the time I watched it, I was 25 weeks along and it was too late to find a midwife in my area and I had to deliver at a hospital. I thought that for our second child, I would definitely try for a midwife/water birth… however, my daughter’s cord was around her neck when she was born and she needed immediate medical attention. Everything turned out really well, but it was a scary few minutes and I know that my next birth will definitely be in a hospital.

torgster on

Just my opinion but I will never ever advocate a home birth because all the prep and precautions in the world couldn’t have forecast what happened to my daughter, who had a perfectly normal pregnancy and labour UNTIL things stopped progressing. OK no big deal, c-section…found her pelvis was deformed, babys head was wedged under her pelvic bone and they couldn’t get this 9 1/2 pound brute out while his oxygen levels were dropping fast! Too gruesome to elaborate further lol but as traumatic as the delivery was, not a day goes by that I don’t look at my 100% healthy 2 1/2 yearold grandson and thank God she was in a facility where they had the expertise and resources to do that delivery IMMEDIATELY. I can’t help but think that anyone who chooses these alternative methods just doesn’t understand the longterm consequences of oxygen deprivation on a baby’s brain.

ms. jaQ on

i am with you, jessicad, in that i showed up at the hospital, with little spare time before giving birth, and i told the nurses all that i have super-short labours– they gave me pitocin so that my doctor could go and have his lunch sooner– and my labour only lasted 30 minutes (my second child– first was 2-1/4 hours in all, 31 months prior)– it was so much more painful with the pitocin– the one thing they “had time for”– i had no epidural or meds because they all took their time, and it was just horrible. miserable… i was ordered to stay on my back and not move at all, so their stupid moniter would stay in place.
i would so love to have a home water birth, it’s been my dream, and now that i’m 31 weeks pregnant with #3, i thought it would be my turn to do it… unfortunately, my anal, control-freak boyfriend absolutely refuses, and calls me selfish for wanting to do anything my way, from midwives/home/water-birthing, to co-sleeping, extended nursing to not finding out the sex. :( *cries*
next month, i will be standing up for myself during labour, for the first time. no ice chips for me, no constant monitoring, and there are huge tubs in the bathroom– i dare them to pull a 160 lb. wet pregnant lady out of the tub at 10 cm dilation. if i can’t have my home birth, i will be personalising the hospital in any way i feel like.

Jessi on

I would have loved to have a home water birth with my daughter, but I started hemorraghing (sp?), so I had a c-section. Will have another this time around in hopefully May.

CelebBabyLover on

ms. jaQ- You shouldn’t let your boyfriend make the birthing/baby decisions for you and your baby! What I mean is, I hope you don’t, for example, deprive your baby of being breastfed just because he doesn’t want you to do so (although you stated that he’s against EXTENDED breastfeeding, which usually refers to nursing past age 1, so I’m hoping that means he’s okay with nursing for at least the first year).

Bottomline: I’m sorry you’re going through this!

Hannah` on

Love the interview, the only thing i would say is about the marathon comment, it works for most but not all. Having my daughter in 20mins, it wasnt marathon pain it was “I think i’m going to die” pain but was also great being so quick. Birth is different for everyone.

hillary on

Actually, most hospitals are unable to provide a C-section in under 30 minutes….even in emergency situations. A well monitored, low risk mother would be perfectly safe laboring at home. When mom’s do need to transfer, a call is made to the hospital, who can then start preparing for them.

If you are within a close proximity to a hospital and have a back-up plan you could be there as fast as you could get yourself a C by birthing in the hospital….except you would avoid all the other complications that come from unnecessary interventions.

S on

Valerie, would you be able to direct me to where it says that dishwasher detergent is toxic to humans? Thanks!

hillary13 on

I was under the impression that dishwasher detergent is one of the most toxic household cleaners. We had a professional green cleaner come to speak to our holistic mom’s group who deals with families suffering from chemical allergies and toxic exposure. She really spoke out against the automatic dishwashing detergent.

Val on

The whole point of homebirth is that your less likely to have complications b/c there aren’t interventions(epidurals,pitocin), which are highly linked to complications. I am not saying that women who have intervention free births never have complications, but you have a plan if something does go wrong.

Emiwho on

Hillary, with all due respect you are totally wrong about C-sections. My son was wedged in the birth canal because the cord was wrapped around his neck 6 times and he was rapidly decelerating. They got him out in under 3 minutes. Saved my little man’s life =)

hillary13 on

Emiwho, with all the respect right back at you–this is actually a fact. Most hospitals cannot afford to keep an anesthesiologist in hospital 24 hours a day. The recommendation is that they need to be able to perform a C-section within 30 minutes. I am very happy they were able to do it that quick for you and everything turned out okay.

I know that neither of the hospitals in my area have the capability and staff to do immediate C-sections and this is true for most rural, small facilities.

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