Skip to content

    Health & Baby

    Font Size

    What Becoming a Mom Taught White Collar's Tiffani Thiessen

    How the TV star is coping with diapers, sleep loss, and the surge of love that comes with having a baby.
    By Jenna Bergen
    WebMD Magazine

    Two weeks after welcoming her daughter, Harper Renn, into the world, White Collar star Tiffani Thiessen is relaxing into her role as a new mom. "The first night home was so overwhelming and surreal," says the 36-year-old, who began modeling at the age of 8, won America's heart as the adorable cheerleader Kelly Kapowski on the NBC hit Saved by the Bell, and later broke hearts and the rules as resident bad girl Valerie Malone on Beverly Hills, 90210.

    "Every baby is different, and it's just getting to know her and what she needs. Harper was up a lot that first night because we weren't burping her long enough," she says, referring to her husband, actor Brady Smith, whom she married in 2005. "But now she's gotten into a rhythm. She's been feeding and sleeping great, and we're falling more in love with her every day."

    WebMD the Magazine Now Available Online

    The enormous popularity of WebMD the Magazine – previously only read in your doctor's office – is why we're proud to announce the release of WebMD the Magazine Digital Edition.

    In each edition, you will get
    these features:
    • Expert beauty tips
    • Healthy recipes
    • Celebrity health stories
    • And much more!

    A far cry from her life on the set of the USA Network series, Thiessen's schedule has been filled with diaper changes, short walks, and lots of rest and recovery. "All in all, it was a 30-hour natural labor which, sadly, ended up in a C-section," says Thiessen, who'd planned to use hypnotherapy in lieu of pain medication. "The umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck twice. I was disappointed, but she's healthy and happy, and that's all we can ask for."

    Thiessen's C-Section Recovery

    Post-op, the outdoor enthusiast -- Thiessen ran regularly before becoming pregnant, and she was clocking two-and-a-half-hour hikes well into her seventh month -- went right back to her all-natural ways. "It's a harder recovery, but I didn't want to put anything else in [Harper's] body," says the now-breastfeeding mom who's dealing with the aches and pains without medication. "All the things that were important for her while I was pregnant are important for her now. I'm drinking lots of water, eating lots of fruits and vegetables, and avoiding anything that would give her too much gas."

    A former vegetarian, Thiessen started eating red meat during pregnancy to increase her low iron level (she can't tolerate soy products, which are also rich in iron), and plans to keep meat in her diet as a breastfeeding mom. "PETA was really upset with me because I was a vegetarian for so many years." Still, Thiessen, who recently teamed up with the World Society for the Protection of Animals to educate consumers about the importance of buying meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products from humanely raised animals, always reads labels when shopping. "It's super important to me," she says.

    Baby's First Year Newsletter

    Because every week matters, get expert advice and facts on what to expect in your baby's first year.

    Today on WebMD

    mother on phone holding baby
    When you should call 911.
    parents and baby
    Unexpected ways your life will change.
    baby acne
    What’s normal – and what’s not.
    baby asleep on moms shoulder
    Help your baby get the sleep he needs.

    mother holding baby at night
    mother with sick child
    Chinese mother breast feeding newborn baby girl
    Track Your Babys Vaccines
    Baby Napping 10 Dos And Donts
    Mother with her baby boy
    baby in crib
    baby gear slideshow