Six weeks after welcoming her first child into the world, Ashley Tisdale is adjusting to her new identity as a mom and life with baby Jupiter.
The childhood star opened up to TODAY Parents about her postpartum struggles and what she wishes she knew about the so-called "fourth trimester."
"The hardest thing for me was breastfeeding," Tisdale said. "Because from the very beginning, she didn't latch. Then I was trying to use a nipple shield and she was getting really frustrated. And then I was frustrated because she was frustrated. So I felt like I didn't really have that experience that a lot of people have with breastfeeding. Emotionally, it was hard."
Tisdale, 35, eventually switched to formula feeding, which she said helped relieve the stress and pressure she felt related to breastfeeding.
"At that point, I said, well, the main priority is the baby, and if the baby is not having a good time in that experience, then it's not about what I think or what my mom friends think," she said. "The main priority is her and that she's getting the nutrients she needs."
Tisdale, who has since partnered with Enfamil to share her feeding journey with her daughter, said she wishes someone had warned her about how breastfeeding can be a struggle for some women.
"No one prepared me for how hard that is," she said. "Because I see my friends do it and I see that they have an easier time."
"People make it seem very easy," she added. "And I was excited, because in my family, my sister didn't actually produce milk. And I was producing milk. I was like, this is great! But it just wasn't working. I just thought it was supposed to be a very easy thing to do."
Tisdale has also opened up about the fourth trimester, a term used to describe the 12 weeks following childbirth, on her blog, Frenshe, explaining that she was shocked by some of the things women experience in the postpartum period — think diapers, and lots of bleeding. Tisdale herself also experienced night sweats, nausea and extreme back pain after giving birth.
"I think it’s really important to talk about our real experiences and not hide the parts that aren’t so pleasant or cute enough to show on Instagram," she wrote.
For the most part, though, Tisdale, her husband and their daughter, nicknamed Juju, are doing just fine.
"The first couple weeks are always the hardest, they say, because it's all new," she told TODAY. "But at this point we have a little routine. It's really nice. I mean, she's the cutest thing ever."
And she's still trying to figure out her new identity as a parent.
"In the very beginning, you're just kind of trying to find who you are in this new role," she said. "I definitely went through, 'Who am I now? I'm a mom! This is so weird and different.'"
The new mom is also eager to celebrate her first Mother's Day this weekend with a brunch at her house with her family.
"I'm so excited," Tisdale said. "My mom lives close, but my mother-in-law and father-in-law just moved closer to us, so that's even better. And everyone is fully vaccinated, so we're just really excited to get together."