Shay Mitchell is enjoying every minute of motherhood and doesn’t have time for any negativity.
The actress, 32, welcomed her first child — a baby girl named Atlas Noa — with her boyfriend Matte Babel on Oct. 20. And since the arrival of her little one, the first-time mom has learned a thing or two about parenthood, including how to handle the shamers.
“I know what I’m doing,” the Dollface actress told PEOPLE on Saturday after teaming up with nonprofit organization First Star to donate luggage from her BÉIS line to foster youth. “I have such an amazing support system. I’m having such a great time with her and I just don’t really pay attention to [critical comments].”
“I’ve really had a good experience, from even before being a mom, with dealing with negative comments sometimes and other people,” she says. “But it’s never about me at the end of the day, it’s about these other people, so I’m just gonna let them say what they wanna say but it doesn’t really affect me.”
As for the best and most challenging parts of motherhood, Mitchell finds it difficult to spend time away from her newborn. “The best part is just seeing her every day, happy and healthy, and the hardest part is leaving her,” she says. “She’s been such a good baby so far. I’m waiting for it to get crazy.”
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Mitchell has also been using her time to help those in need. On Saturday, she teamed up with First Star — which provides foster youth with university-based college-preparatory programs and more — to give the teenagers BÉIS luggages. Each piece was filled with thoughtful items including sneakers and school supplies, and the teens were excited to receive their gifts in time for the holidays.
“I just think that First Star is such an incredible organization,” says the Pretty Little Liars alum. “What they do for the kids in the foster-care system is incredible. Offering mentorship programs and the support they need to get them in school and have that education is so crucial.”
“A lot of these kids are going from place to place and they have a garbage bag to put their stuff in and no one should have that,” Mitchell continues. “So I’m happy that we could offer some stuff to help them with this new, exciting chapter in their lives as they’re going to school.”
“These kids have had the misfortune to be born into the wrong family, with the wrong parents, and bad things have been done to them at no fault of theirs,” Peter Samuelson, co-founder and president of First Star, tells PEOPLE. “Then they’ve gone into institutional care or living with strangers. Some have been in 15 to 20 places — how do you live a life if that’s the case?”
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In giving the children suitcases they can carry along on their journey into adulthood, Mitchell says she was able to accomplish something dear to her heart. “The coolest thing is that I’m putting the two things that I love together,” she tells PEOPLE. “BÉIS was my first baby, and to give back from something that myself and my team created together from top to bottom is just incredible.”
Being a mother to her baby girl Atlas has also brought immense joy into Mitchell’s life. “It’s been the best thing ever but it still hasn’t hit me yet,” the You actress says. “It didn’t even hit me when I was pregnant and it hasn’t hit me even now. It’s just the most surreal feeling and wonderful experience ever.”
And Atlas has already been showing bits and pieces of her personality at just 7 weeks old. “She doesn’t really look like her dad or me yet,” Mitchell tells PEOPLE of her little one. “She’s her own person and that’s kind of fun. But her personality, she’s super happy, super talkative.”
Atlas also loves to eat. Mitchell says breastfeeding has been a pleasant experience for the two of them, though that could change. “Maybe when she gets teeth and she starts biting [it might get tough],” the star says. “But up until this point, she doesn’t have teeth and we’re doing well.”
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“Everybody has their own kind of journey with motherhood, with breastfeeding … this is what works for us right now and it’s nice,” she adds. “Just waking up, having her next to me when we go to sleep, is such a fun thing.”
Mitchell says her little one really shows her personality when it comes to breast milk. “She is a little feisty one because even when there was nothing, she would just be like, ‘Weh,’ and then when she comes for the boob she has this face that’s scary. It was the funniest thing, but it was also terrifying.”
“I’m enjoying this phase right now without the teeth. She gets aggressive and she’ll hit my boob like, ‘Mama, get it out,’ and she’ll look up and I’m like, ‘Whoa, okay, it’s coming, relax,’ ” the actress jokes. “If I don’t go fast enough, she pounds it and looks up.”
As for the future, Mitchell is hoping her daughter will continue joining her on adventures: “She’s so good and she’s such a good traveler too, so I’m just hoping that continues and she can be my travel buddy.”
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