October 17, 2014 01:00 PM

J.P. and Ashley Hebert Rosenbaum‘s love story just keeps getting sweeter.

After paying tribute to their whirlwind romance with a travel-themed baby shower in July, the parents-to-be turned to planning a nursery for their baby boy — and it was obvious which direction they were heading.

“Ashley and J.P. have many memories of traveling together, so the nursery features a subtle travel theme,” designer Vanessa Antonelli, who worked with the couple on the room, tells PEOPLE exclusively.

Using a paneled wall as the focal point, the couple created a sophisticated sleep space featuring wall clocks representing the places they’ve visited together, chic accessories that play into the theme, including sailboats and maps, and a neutral color palette that can easily grow with their child.

“Ashley knew exactly what she wanted and worked with me to choose the pieces that went into the room,” says Antonelli. “But even more surprising was that she is a little contractor! Ashley actually put up most of that Stikwood wall all by herself.”

And just as she took to carpentry, Hebert Rosenbaum is already excelling at motherhood since the Sept. 30 arrival of son Fordham Rhys.

“Ashley has taken to motherhood like she has been doing it all her life. It always makes me smile to see how she handles Ford,” Rosenbaum says.

Christina Mendoza of Tutti Bambini

In an exclusive interview, the proud new parents opened up to PEOPLE about everything from the moment they met Ford to overcoming the initial challenges of breastfeeding and their favorite room in their home: the nursery.

PEOPLE: Congratulations on your baby boy! What have the first few weeks been like as new parents?

Ashley: The first two weeks have been great. (Knock on wood.) Fordham has been a sweet and easy baby so far, but we know things can change!

Parenthood has brought J.P. and I closer together and has allowed us to realize what is important to us. Our lives revolve around caring for this sweet little boy and making sure we provide him with all the things he needs to be fulfilled! We are loving every moment of it!

Courtesy J.P. Rosenbaum

PEOPLE: Ashley, you’ve mentioned it was a tough recovery. How have you been doing? What’s been the hardest part?

Ashley: I ended up having a c-section so my recovery has lasted a bit longer than what we expected. J.P. really had to take care of both me and the baby for the first few days. He really stepped up his dad and husband game!

At the hospital, he was up for every feeding, brought me anything I needed, and changed every diaper!! I couldn’t have done it without him. I am so proud to call him my husband and baby daddy!

Christina Mendoza of Tutti Bambini

PEOPLE: What was it like seeing Fordham for the first time?

Ashley: Seeing Ford for the first time was a moment we both will never forget. To me, he was the most gorgeous baby I had ever seen. After months of dreaming of the moment I would first get to hold him, it was finally here. It felt surreal.

I was also mesmerized by how much he looked like his Dad. The first thing I said was, “He looks exactly like J.P.!!” He still does!

Christina Mendoza of Tutti Bambini

PEOPLE: How has your relationship with each other changed since becoming parents? (Other than fighting over who gets to hold the baby!) Who’s handling most of the diaper duty?

Ashley: Throughout our relationship, our bond always seems to grow stronger with each milestone we reach. It’s still very early in our parenting careers, but it’s easy to see that it’ll take a lot of teamwork, support for one another, and patience when raising this child. You really need to be on the same page all the time. Ask us this question again when we are seasoned parents.

J.P. claims that I’m a bit of a baby hog. I don’t think I am! I just enjoy waking up with him in the middle of the night, cuddling with him in the rocking chair and changing his diaper. So, I guess I am the one on diaper duty. Okay, maybe I am a bit of a baby hog.

Courtesy J.P. Rosenbaum

PEOPLE: Ashley, can you tell us how breastfeeding is going? Have you hit any road bumps or did Fordham get the hang of it pretty quickly?

Ashley: I will say that the one thing I was not prepared for was how difficult breastfeeding was at the beginning. Everyone warns you about the sleepless nights and c-section recovery, but breastfeeding was the most difficult part of my recovery.

It was the only thing that made me break. It was so painful and emotionally exhausting. I would dread feeding and couldn’t enjoy the time we were supposed to spend bonding. Luckily, it only lasted a few days, and it’s become a lot easier. Why doesn’t anyone talk about how difficult it is?!

Christina Mendoza of Tutti Bambini

PEOPLE: J.P., how do you support Ashley and Fordham’s nursing routine? Do you get up for the late-night feeds?

J.P.: Believe it or not, there really is a LOT for me to do while Ashley is nursing. It ranges from cooking to cleaning to foot massages, to just about anything that will help her relax and focus on Ford.

Ash’s parents have been in town to help out for the first two weeks, so I’ve had it pretty easy. Ash has really been great about the late night feeds. She’s usually the one to get up because she knows I have work early the following day.

Don’t get me wrong, I offer and I’m more than happy to do it, but I think she actually loves doing it. Plus, it kinda helps if you have boobs!

Courtesy J.P. Rosenbaum

PEOPLE: Tell us about the nursery. Did you have a theme in mind from the start? Was there one item that you liked and used to build everything else around it?

Ashley: I am obsessed with our nursery. I went into my design session with Vanessa Antonelli from NessaLee Baby with an open mind; I wasn’t exactly sure which way I wanted to go with it.

I knew I didn’t want anything too babyish and I wanted a room he could grow into. Travel has been such an important part of our relationship, we thought it would be an appropriate theme. We also knew his name was going to be Ford, and that also went along with the travel theme! Perfect.

I was torn between doing a rustic or a modern room, so we decided to combine the two! I could not be happier with the way the room turned out. It is the best room in our home and Ford LOVES it too!

Ricky Stern Photography

PEOPLE: J.P., did you let Ashley handle designing the nursery or were you equally involved?

J.P.: Yes, this was something that Ashley has been dreaming about ever since we found out she was pregnant. I let her have free reign.

Plus, I was a bit superstitious when it came to doing things for the baby prior to him being born.

Ricky Stern Photography

PEOPLE: What’s your favorite part of the nursery?

Ashley: It’s so difficult to pick only one favorite part of the room, so I will pick three! Visually, my favorite part of the room is the Stikwood wall. It’s really the centerpiece and adds such a cool, rustic feel to the room.

Functionally, my favorite part of the room is the Little Castle glider. It is where I nurse, cuddle and rock Ford to sleep. It holds many special moments for us.

I also love my Kidsmill changing table and dresser. It is the most gorgeous piece of furniture we own and adds a modern touch to our room.

Ricky Stern Photography

PEOPLE: How has your dog adjusted to Fordham? Was there anything special you did to prepare her for baby?

Ashley: Our dog Boo has really surprised us. She usually requires a lot of attention, but she’s stepped back and has been much less maintenance since the baby has arrived.

She’s getting more comfortable with the baby, but hasn’t cuddled with him yet; she even runs away from him when he cries.

We brought her one of his blankets from the hospital the day before we brought him home, but I’m not sure that really did anything!

Christina Mendoza of Tutti Bambini

— Anya Leon


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