New mom Daphne Oz has teamed up with nursing apparel line Bravado Designs to donate $128,500 worth of breast-feeding supplies — including the brand’s bras and Medela breast pumps — to Baby Buggy, an organization that supports mothers in need.
"The Chew" host opened up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about her 6-month-old daughter Philomena Bijou, the benefits of skin-to-skin contact and breast-feeding, how she is introducing solids to her baby and her best tips for working moms.
Q. What are the benefits of breast-feeding not just in terms of an excellent first food for baby, but the many ways that breast-feeding is beneficial for the mother’s health?
There’s an element of confidence and feeling a real accomplishment when you’re able to breast-feed your baby because it is such a personal experience and something that no one can do for you. You really have to sort it out on your own. To see your baby nursing and see your baby getting this vital life force from you is something that is really overwhelmingly beautiful and such a special experience.
I also think breast-feeding is one of the best ways, in terms of skin-to-skin contact, of being around your baby and giving yourself time to rest and recuperate right after birth. Being around your baby in that way is one way that your body begins to adjust back to normal. Your body starts to accommodate all of the hormones that are raging through you. I certainly found that the more I was around Philo and the more I could spend that time with her, the happier I was and the more balanced I was. I felt more confident.
Q. Bravado has conducted research on first generation breast-feeders and found that 28 percent of mothers are first generation breast-feeders with the majority relying heavily on the support of lactation consultants and healthcare professionals. Are you a first generation breast-feeder? And if so, what challenges did you face?
I am not a first-generation breast-feeder. My mother breast-fed all of her kids, but I did see a lactation consultant because I still think you give birth, and you think, or at least I did, that breast-feeding would be intuitive. I thought, the baby would know how to do it and I would know how to do it and know how to get that good latch and know how to do breast massage. These were all things that I didn’t know how to do properly, so I did see a lactation consultant and it was so helpful.
And things like getting on a pumping schedule when I went back to work, all of those things, I didn’t know. I went online certainly and read a ton of stuff. I was surprised by how helpful crowd sourcing my mothering information was in that way. Seeing a lactation consultant was something I did early on, and I really benefitted from it.
Q. As a working mother yourself, what advice do you have for working moms?
I think that it’s important to be forgiving of yourself, and flexible, and at the same time very attuned to the needs of your body. Going back to work is a huge stress, and for many women they go to work and then come home and feel like that’s when their real job starts. It’s really easy to wear yourself down that way. I’m a big believer in the better you take care of yourself, the better care you take of the people around you. Don’t forget to reinvest in yourself, especially as you’re getting back into work and don’t expect it to be this smooth-sailing experience right from the outset.
Q. Once you have finished breast-feeding, what will be the first food you plan to give your daughter?
She’s just about 6½ months now, so we just started incorporating some vegetable purees into her daily diet. We tried a rice cereal twice, and that was not successful. That was not her favorite! She loves, loves a pureed carrot, and she loves pureed peaches right now.
I really love the idea of baby-led weaning. I’m not sure how much it will stick with us, but I love the idea that the baby will learn to chew before she learns to swallow. I love the idea of giving her little pieces, like a rectangular piece of watermelon, which she can pick up with her hands and bite on. It’s the same thing with the carrots. She loves mashed avocado and mashed bananas. She goes crazy for them! I’m doing one a day right now and keeping it very basic and with a minimal amount. Certainly with baby-led weaning you don’t get much in their mouth at all, and with the purees I’m just giving her what she’s interested in eating.
Q. What foods do you look forward to introducing Philo to?
As we move forward, I’m really looking forward to getting some cool combinations together. There’s no reason in my mind, or based on what my pediatrician has been telling me or what I’ve read, that babies shouldn’t be able to have flavorful foods and anything that helps to develop their palette within reason. So I’m going to blend pears with spinach, carrot and apple and I’m going to add blueberries and make things that really tantalize her taste buds.
At the end of the day, what I’m really gunning for is to have her be able to be a part of our family table and have dinner with us. If I’m having chicken noodle soup or lentil soup, which she also loves, I can give that to her so that I’m not a short-order cook having to make a different kids meal each night. I also think that within reason, it’s a great way to really make sure that your baby is also getting a good variety of food and developing their taste buds. If I can avoid it, I would like to avoid having the kids who only eat white food.