Ashley Graham Talks Motherhood in a Pandemic and Normalizing Breastfeeding on Social Media (Exclusive)

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Ashley Graham is loving her new role as mom!

While speaking to ET at her virtual launch event with St.Tropez, the 33-year-old model opened up about her first year of motherhood, and all of the joy that has come along with it. Graham and her husband, Justin Ervin, welcomed their first child together, son Isaac, last January, just before America went into lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"I got an extended maternity leave that I never thought I would get, so that was really the silver lining in all of it," Graham told ET's Katie Krause. "I had eight months straight with him, that me and Justin got to spend with him, so that was so beautiful."

"Being a parent, a lot of it is trial and error," she continued. "Looking for help, building up confidence along the way and just having enough confidence in yourself that Mom and Dad know what's best for the baby. And forgiving yourself along the way."

Graham joked that her 1-year-old is already "a little chatterbox," whose current favorite words are "Dada" and "dog."

"He does this really funny thing with his lips where he goes 'Mamma, Mamma,'" she shared, mimicking her son's voice. "And Dada is just his favorite word. I'm OK with it, it is what it is. But now the new word is dog. We don't have a dog, but for his birthday someone sent a balloon of a dog and now he's obsessed. Everything is dog. Sometimes I'm dog. Everything is dog, dog, dog!"

"I think in some ways [motherhood] has made me softer and more patient; not only with the world, but myself," she continued. "I am starting to see things through a little kid's eyes and not my own, so that can be hard sometimes. You've lived a long life and now you have to see it through such innocent and pure eyes. They just seem different. They're more fun and innocent and beautiful."

If you follow Graham on Instagram, you've probably seen pics of her breastfeeding on her feed. She told ET that she's trying to help eliminate any stigma around breastfeeding in public and on social media.

"Honestly, the more that we put something out into the world, whether it's on your social media, whatever it is, I think that's the most important thing," she explained. "We've never had this platform before. We can just truly talk about things that we are passionate about, that we want other people to know about."

"To me, breastfeeding, whether you do it or don't do it as a mother, like, it should just be normalized," she continued. "Just like anything else when it comes to being a parent. Everybody parents differently, everybody treats their body differently. So to post yourself breastfeeding should be normalized just as much as giving your child a bottle."

Throughout the interview, Graham also spoke about her 10-year marriage to Ervin, and explained why she loves him even more after seeing him become a dad.

"First of all, oh my gosh, he got hotter when Isaac was born," she gushed. "I'm like, 'Woo! You change that dirty diaper, you are so fine. Woo! You clean up that mess, thank you.' Acts of service is my love language so it has been on fleek. It has been so hot, hot, hot."

"Marry your best friend because that's a really big deal," she added, of their secret to making marriage work. "You want to make sure that you guys like each other. Liking each other is such a big deal, and talking through everything. There should be nothing that is left unsaid. Justin and I always say to each other, 'Don't assume.'"

Graham believes that communication is "so key" in any relationship. She said it's a quality she and Ervin are already trying to teach their baby boy.

"Justin and I, our communication is rock solid, so we really are trying to teach Isaac how to communicate with us," she said. "Even though he can't talk, we're trying to teach him sign language. It's very difficult. It's so hard to teach a baby sign language but people have done it."

"So we're trying to teach him a little bit of sign language, and kindness," she added. "Kindness has been a really big one in our house as well. Whether it's between Justin and I or Isaac, it's about being kind."

As for whether Graham and Ervin are open to having more kids someday?

"I am working on it. It is in action as we speak!" Graham revealed. "It's a work in progress."

Aside from parenting, Graham has also been busy with a number of professional projects, including being the new face of St. Tropez Tan. She co-created the new Limited Edition Ultimate Glow Kit, available now at Ulta.com.

"The tan isn't really about how it makes you look, but how it makes you feel," she explained. "I think that I kinda always wanna have this instant glow and that's exactly what St. Tropez provides. It has a beautiful, natural, instant glow, like you just got back from a vacation."

"For me, beauty ideals are really about being true to yourself," she continued. "Not erasing, but enhancing. I really have always wanted to inspire confidence within yourself, and I think that skin has always been in. Embrace your skin and take care of it."

Watch the video below for more on Graham.

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