“Wlad’s mom was desperate to take the baby for a night,” the Nashville star, 25, tells PEOPLE. “She looks like she didn’t get much sleep, but I feel well-rested!”
Adjusting to life as a parent has been “such a surreal experience and so out of body,” for Panettiere and her heavyweight professional boxer beau, 38. “You’re suddenly looking at this little thing like, ‘Oh, that was you in my belly this whole time,'” she says. “[We’re] just getting to know her.”
Michael Sterling Eaton
Recovering from the labor and delivery has also been a bit of a challenge.
“I’m limping around. I’m still trying to figure out what [pregnancy] has done to my body, how it’s changed it. What’s temporary and what’s permanent,” Panettiere tells PEOPLE with a laugh, adding that she was “grateful” for her epidural.
“I feel like an 80-year-old woman trying to go down the stairs, you know — please tell me this is temporary! But I know some things will never be the same again.”
So far, little Kaya has been an easy baby despite a few restless nights and what the nursing mom describes as an “insatiable appetite.”
“She’s really so sweet,” Panettiere says. “I’m sure that’s the way it’s meant to be, because when they are putting you through the wringer you’re like, ‘You are so lucky you’re cute!'”
For more photos of the family, pick up the Jan. 12 issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Jan. 2
— Julie Jordan