Pregnant Daniella Monet Opens Up About the 'Mind Trip' of Parenting During COVID-19 Lockdown

Daniella Monet, who's expecting her second child, chats with PEOPLE about parenting during a pandemic, launching her new eco-friendly diaper line and more

Daniella Monet
Daniella Monet and family. Photo: Jeffrey Fountain

For Daniella Monet, being a first-time parent during the coronavirus crisis has been a "unique" experience.

Opening up to PEOPLE amid the launch of her new sustainable diaper line Sprouted, the Victorious alum and second-time mom-to-be says it has been "challenging" for her and fiancé Andrew Gardner to balance work commitments with taking care of son Gio James, who turns 1 on Monday.

"[It's hard] not having a lot of support around you to just have an extra hand here and there, especially because Andrew and I do have other projects and things that we are trying to focus on to, obviously, support our family," says Monet, 31. "I feel for so many parents and families out there who are trying to juggle work and being a parent and being hands-on. I think that's probably been the biggest struggle."

In the beginning, Monet and Gardner "felt like there was absolutely no one that was allowed near Gio or our home or anything else" — but now, "we've opened up our quarantine crew just a little bit, to have a few more family involved and people we can visit with."

"But it's a mind trip," she admits. "I know we're all in it and I'm sure I'm just preaching to the choir, but it hasn't been all easy, that's for sure."

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Daniella Monet
Daniella Monet. Jeffrey Fountain
Daniella Monet
Daniella Monet and family. Jeffrey Fountain

Monet — who hosts the Adulting Like a Mother Father podcast alongside her fiancé — tells PEOPLE that part of her inspiration behind launching Sprouted (the first BeVeg vegan-certified diaper line) was that she "didn't really want to compromise" her "ethics about keeping things as eco-friendly as possible and using super-natural materials."

"I didn't want to use harsh ingredients on Gio — he's so new; I just wanted to protect him," she says, noting that she also wanted the production "to be completely cruelty-free" and the diapers are shipped "in 100 percent post-consumer recycled" packaging.

"I live a plant-based lifestyle, and protecting animals and our planet is super important to me," Monet explains. "Diapers are pretty wasteful, and I think the best thing we can do to leverage the latest developments in sustainable materials is our first and foremost goal."

Aside from offering "cloud-like comfort," a "wetness indicator" and dual leg cuffs to help prevent vent leaks, the Nickelodeon alum says Sprouted diapers offer a durability she hadn't seen before: "I learned very quickly that you can have far fewer messes if you just have the right diaper, and I had a hard time finding them."

Daniella Monet
Daniella Monet. Jeffrey Fountain

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As for how she and Gardner planned to celebrate Gio's "big milestone" of turning 1, Monet tells PEOPLE she "wanted to do some sort of outdoor gathering" — safely — that features their son's favorite toy at the moment.

"Gio absolutely loves balls — he is just the happiest kid when he's playing with a bunch of balls," she says. "So I found a bunch of bouncy balls and I want to either throw them all over the backyard [or] take him to a park. I think with COVID, we're trying to figure out if we can do something at the park with family coming if there's an option to social distance."

And the time couldn't be better to expand their brood: "I'm now at a place with Gio where we have a really good rhythm and I can see how people want to add to the family because it's such a fun stage."

"The first zero to six months were a lot, and they are something you really can't explain until you're a new mom and learning so much as you go, and you care so much about this new little being," Monet adds. "I think, finally, I feel like I can take more on and grow our family."

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