The actress and husband Kamar de los Reyes welcomed twins John Rubén and Michael Luís on May 13. Now, the proud mama is sharing the first photos of her sweet sons exclusively with PEOPLE.
“I love how they look at me,” Saum, 39, says of her boys. “I feel like they trust me, and in turn I feel like these little dudes are going to always have my back.”
For more on how the star has bonded with her babies, what’s next for her show and the words of wisdom executive producer Jennifer Lopez gave her, read our Q&A below. And catch Saum in The Fosters on Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC Family.
Congratulations on your beautiful boys! How did you pick their names?
Thank you so much! At first we were trying to get creative with their first names but ultimately we decided that they already have a lot to live up to with their last name being de los Reyes (of the kings)!
You said you wanted to meet them first before committing to the names for sure — how did you decide which name fit which baby?
It was an easy fit for both. John means gracious, and when he was delivered he didn’t even scream. Just a very polite whimper to let us know he arrived. Michael was easy because I always felt it was such a masculine name. And Michael looked so very masculine even from the day he was born. My little man-baby.
How was your labor and delivery experience?
It was pretty chill up until my water broke. I checked into the hospital the night before because we just knew it was going to happen. I was full term with twins. I was only in active labor for an hour and 20 minutes — I got an epidural, but I think they gave me a placebo because I felt everything!
I didn’t think the first boy was ever going to come out — but Kamar was right there cheering me on — he was in full coach mode to the point that I had to turn to him and say, “Um babe — okay could ya just not say anything for a minute?!” But he made me feel like I could do anything, and he was so proud of me.
Do you and your husband divide and conquer caring for the twins?
We do. We have a factory-like system going on with the feeding and bathing. I’m lucky because Kamar has a very organized way of approaching everything he does, and it comes in handy with babies who need structure. He has a 17-year-old son, Caylen, so it’s not his first rodeo.
Sometimes I’ll be pulling my hair out, and he’ll just swoop in like some mythical baby whispering superhero — he straps them onto his chest and salsa dances with them — or plays the congas while bouncing them on an exercise ball.
What most surprised you about becoming a new mom?
How breastfeeding has become like breathing. I used to think I would be freaked out when I’m out in public, but Kamar and I take the boys with us to dinner, and I just throw on my little cape thingy, and I don’t miss a beat.
Are John and Michael on the same eating/sleeping schedule?
They are definitely on the same schedule during the day, but nighttime is a little hit and miss … we’re getting there though. They sleep in side by side cribs.
How did you decorate their nursery?
The nursery is such a beautiful, calm oasis. It’s a lot of blue and pale green — it has a vintagey feel that this amazing woman, Leah Ash from Silk Events, helped put together. She gave our dark oak cribs to an amazing artisan named Ziggy the Hipster, and he refinished them in a gorgeous rustic blue. He also made us geometric-shaped hanging bookshelves, and we filled them with books and stuffed animals. We had these delicious, zany ikat print drapes custom-made that just make the room come alive.
I want the boys to be dazzled and to daydream, and their room is definitely the place for that.
Can you tell that the twins have different personalities yet?
Definitely. Michael is full of buzzy energy and can barely contain himself. John is my zen Buddha boy. Very observant and mellow. He’s always looking at Michael like, “Bro, could you calm yourself, please?
Have you mixed them up at all?
They are fraternal, and Michael is bigger than John, but there are times when they sort of meld into each other — definitely hard to tell them apart on the baby monitor at night!
You and Teri Polo seem like such close friends off-screen. Is she like “Aunt Teri” to the twins?
She really is. She was the boys’ first visitor in the hospital after my family! She’s such an effortless mother, she’ll come over and snatch one of the boys and just go change his diaper when needed — she’s a natural. And they can’t take their eyes off her. Michael flirts shamelessly with her.
Did playing a mom on The Fosters teach you about becoming one in real life?
The show deals a lot with sacrifices that you make as parents and how no love is stronger than that of a parent and child — all that unconditional stuff. And I get that now more than ever.
Your character Lena just lost the baby she was carrying after suffering from pre-eclampsia. Was that a tough plot line for you?
It really was. When [executive producer] Joanna Johnson came to me to discuss what she was writing for that episode, I stood in a puddle of tears just hearing about it. It was tough straddling fiction and reality during filming. Luckily, I have the most supportive cast and crew an actor could ever ask for, and we got through it.
Moving forward, what can we expect for Lena and her family?
It’s interesting, the writers and producers have woven such a complex web of characters and have so much personal experience to mine for the show, every script just gets better and better. We explore the mundane things that all families deal with but also mix it up with some twists and turns.
I don’t know what’s coming next, but I know it will be damn good. ABC Family got this so right.
Has Jennifer Lopez given you any parenting advice?
Last time I saw her, she just hugged me and said, “Hang on tight, girl, you’re in for the ride of your life.”
— Michele Corriston