Chew on this: Daphne Oz is a believer in love at first sight.
From the moment the TV host and her husband John Jovanovic welcomed their first child, Philomena Bijou, in February, the new mom was completely head over heels for her daughter.
“It’s something that I think no one can really explain to you until you have a baby of your own and you feel that immense love for someone you don’t even know.”
Strengthening the bond between Oz and her now 6-month-old was her choice to breastfeed, a decision the new mom says gives her the “peace of mind of knowing that it is the best first choice of food for your baby.”
Courtesy Daphne Oz
However, while breast was best for her baby girl, Oz is adamant about celebrating all mothers — even those who choose to bottle feed.
“I think that we should be proud of moms and their babies, period, and feeding them any way that you can,” she explains.
“My big problem is that it is something that I feel is a luxury in some ways because it does take time. I don’t ever want moms to feel like if they don’t get to breastfeed they’re missing out on something with their babies because you will find many other ways to bond with them.”
She adds, “It’s a wonderful time to feel that essential and beautiful mother/baby bond and if it ends up being breastfeeding, as I was lucky enough to experience, is really is wonderful.”
But Oz’s breastfeeding journey — and motherhood — haven’t been without their fair share of bumps in the road.
“There are sleepless nights, there are feeding problems, there are sleeping problems, there are all kinds of new experiences that can be very challenging,” she shares.
Fortunately for Oz, Jovanovic provided her the strong support system she needed to make it through even the toughest of times.
“Having my husband there was so vital and remains so vital to my success and my being able to continue it because, honestly, especially in those first couple of weeks … it’s an out of body experience most of the time and he was 100 percent my emotional counselor,” she says.
But having Jovanovic by her side did more than allow Oz to nurse their newborn. According to the new mama, the couple’s relationship was also affected — in a surprising, and very unexpected, way.
“We were reassuring each other and reaffirming that we were doing the right thing and, even more than that, allowing this new wonderful addition to our family strengthen our marriage and strengthen that bond,” she explains.
Oz continues, “It was really a fringe benefit for me that I didn’t anticipate because when I had Philo and even when I got pregnant — and more so when she was born — it really … made my marriage so much happier and more deeply in love than I even thought was possible.”
And now Oz is paying it all forward. She has teamed up with nursing apparel line Bravado Designs to donate $128,500 worth of breastfeeding supplies — including the brand’s bras and Medela breast pumps — to Baby Buggy, an organization that supports mothers in need.
“I am thrilled to be a part of this donation, because I have recent knowledge of how important it is to have a great support system when you are a new mother,” says Oz.
“In addition to that, having the items I needed to foster the breastfeeding process and give me an opportunity to bond with my baby in this way was something that I felt was so important in my life and my experience as a first-time mom. I love that I am able to play a role in giving that joy and support to the moms we will be helping.”
Despite the ups and downs of parenthood, Oz is determined to embrace it all and cherish the memories she is making as a tight-knit family of three.
“It’s so important and valuable to be able to step back and realize that you only get this first experience once and to soak it all up,” she shares. “Live in that moment and experience it for what it is and know that it’s wonderful.”
Courtesy Daphne Oz
— Anya Leon