May 23, 2014 04:46 PM

Courtesy Jordana Brewster

When Jordana Brewster envisioned herself with a baby, she pictured a cool, calm and collected mother.

But while the arrival of son Julian definitely changed the actress, it wasn’t exactly the transformation she had predicted.

“I thought I would be this zen earth mama, but I am more paranoid about things than I used to be,” Brewster, 34, tells Cricket’s Circle.

“People say that once you become a mom you’ll know exactly what to do, but that isn’t necessarily true. I find myself more anxious than before.”

And with good reason! The first-time mom recalls the day her 8-month-old son’s hearty appetite — and love of nature! — took her by surprise. “One day, Julian ate a leaf and then puked it up shortly thereafter,” she shares. “That’s when I realized I have to have my eyes on him at all times.”

Fortunately, keeping a good eye on her little guy is made easier by Brewster’s determination to separate her professional and personal lives.

“There’s no such thing as multitasking as a mom — if you’re answering emails, you aren’t giving the baby the attention he needs,” she explains. “I’m trying to be more mindful and setting aside time to devote myself to work so I can give him my full attention when I am with him.”

Although she admits finding the right balance is “a work in progress,” Brewster already has discovered one big win: the perfect mix of playthings.

Swapping out traditional toys for household items is a fun way to keep Julian actively engaged — and distracted! — says Brewster.

“Take things you already have around the house — a rock, pine cone, paper towel tube — and put them in a bowl or basket for your baby to play with,” she explains. “They love the different textures and once they tire of one, they move on to the next.”

However Brewster isn’t completely against modern-day devices — especially when it comes to soothing her son. Although Julian enjoyed his Nuna Leaf as a baby, he now wants to be “held at all times” — but there’s an app for that.

“The Baby Shusher is a genius invention. At first it felt really lazy, but all that shushing is exhausting!” she says. “There’s also an app, which I used after I dropped and broke the actual shusher.”

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— Anya Leon

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