"She was so excited about having this child," a family friend tells PEOPLE after Spears welcomes a girl

By Steve Helling
Updated June 19, 2008 07:05 PM

Jamie Lynn Spears‘s hometown of Kentwood, La., was buzzing with the news she gave birth, with friends and relatives expressing surprise, relief and confidence the 17-year-old will be a good mother.

“She’s awfully young to be a momma,” says distant cousin Margie Busby. “But that’s what they make [grandmothers] for. They have to help. That’s the way it is with our circle of friends.”

Second cousin Janet Bridges acknowledges, “I didn’t even know she had the baby,” but gives a thumbs up to the baby girl’s name. “Ooh, I like ‘Maddie,'” says Bridges.

The birth was the talk of Kentwood. “I’m really happy for her and her family,” says Jennifer Pike, who works at the corner store where the Spears family often shops. “There will probably be some rough times and some bumpy times, but I wish the best for her. I wish her all the luck in the world.”

“We’re so excited for her,” a family friend tells PEOPLE. “She’ll be a great mom. She’ll be awesome.”

Adds another friend, “She was so excited about having this child. (She was) looking forward to it so much.”

The days have passed slowly for Spears and fiancé Casey Aldridge, who had finished preparing for the baby a few weeks ago. “It seemed like this day would never come,” says a cousin of Aldridge. “They’ve been getting ready, but everything was pretty much done by last month. So they just had to wait.”

Now that Maddie Briann is here, family members hope that Spears and Aldridge are good parents. “It’s easy to have them, but hard to raise them,” says relative Charlie Spears. “I hope she’s healthy, and I hope they raise a good baby.”


More Celeb Baby Boom: Proud parents – Nicole Richie, Christina Aguilera, Angelina Jolie and more – show off their adorable additions on the cover of PEOPLE