Lindsay Arnold on Breastfeeding 'Pressures' and Combatting Mom Shamers: 'None of Us Are Perfect'
"At the end of the day, you just want your kids to be happy," Lindsay Arnold tells PEOPLE while promoting her Ivy City Co. dress collection
Lindsay Arnold is embracing the pressures of being a mom and reminding other parents that no one is perfect.
While speaking to PEOPLE about her mommy-and-me dress collection with brand Ivy City Co., launching April 29, Arnold reveals how she deals with the daily pressures of motherhood as a mom to 5-month-old daughter Sage Jill.
The Dancing with the Stars pro, 27, who welcomed her first baby with husband Samuel Lightner Cusick in November, says one major mom pressure revolves around her breastfeeding choices. Arnold says she had been "exclusively" breastfeeding up until four-and-a-half months but later found that Sage would "still be crying because she was hungry."
"I've got a nice, awesome, growing girl, and she eats a lot, so I've been supplementing with formula as well, and it's worked great for us, and she's happy," Arnold says.
Still, the first-time mom says she feels this "kind of pressure to breastfeed as long as you can."
"I wanted to do that," she explains. "I mean, in my mind, if I could have, I would have only breastfed. But at the end of the day, you just want your kids to be happy and that is best."
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When dealing with these pressures, Arnold says she reminds herself she isn't the only mom feeling this way.
"I try to focus on the fact that there must be so many moms out there that are feeling these same pressures," she says. "And if I can be open and vulnerable about it, maybe I can help other moms who are feeling the same way, and understand that it's okay and that none of us are perfect. There are trials when you're a mother."
"There's things that you're still learning and trying to grow every single day and you're not alone. That's kind of what drives me," she continues. "And at the end of the day, I try to focus and remember that I know what's best for me and my family."
The star went on to share her most recent experience with "mom guilt," which happened when baby Sage got sunburnt on their family vacation.
"I lathered her in sunscreen and then my sweet little girl still gets a sunburn, and I feel like the most terrible mom in the whole entire world," Arnold recalls. "When your kids are in pain, or they're hurting or anything goes wrong, it is so easy to feel that mom guilt of like, 'Oh my gosh, this is my fault. I am the worst person ever.' But at the end of the day, kids are so resilient and things are going to happen."
Something that has helped Arnold in "staying sane" as a mom has been working on her own projects, including her collaboration with Utah-based dress brand Ivy City Co. The special Mother's Day collection — which Arnold says has been a "a dream come true" to create — features three dress styles all in adult, mini and baby sizes.
Inspired by her own family, each dress has a meaningful namesake: "Sage" for her daughter, "Mindy" for her mother, and "Jill" for her late mother-in-law.
Arnold and her family recently did a photoshoot to model the collection, which Arnold says was "the most beautiful and memorable moment I think I can ever say."
"It's the most special project I have ever worked on," she says. "I will cherish that day for the rest of my life. This was special. This was creating memories and creating just a day that, truly, we will all cherish and remember forever. I am so grateful for that."
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