Oxytocin and the role it plays in feeding our babies

The love hormone

Our skin is the largest organ on our body. The simple act of touching another facilitates the production of oxytocin.
Oxytocin, is the love hormone. It’s been identified as one of the key factors in facilitating bonding amongst living beings. That being said, its true that we often label breastfeeding as the ultimate act of bonding. However, if we know that the our skin has numerous nerve endings that stimulate a hormonal release when touched by another, we know that breastfeeding does not have to be the only way a parent bonds with their child. I read a book by Madeleine Morris titled, “Guilt Free Bottle Feeding” and was blown away by the amount of revelations and insight I received about my own struggles with breastfeeding my children (now almost 13 and 9). If you are questioning your decision to bottle feed, I highly recommend the book!


Connection enhances feeding

When a child is held by their parent, especially skin-to-skin, oxytocin is released. That hormone release is intensified with eye contact, with singing, rocking, tickling, CONNECTING. When we feed one another, oxytocin is released. Providing food, while being close Intensifies the release of oxytocin. Bottle feeding, by someone other than the lactating parent, is an ideal situation for this to happen. Parenting in general is an ideal situation for connecting and engaging to happen with our children. One does not have to breastfeed their children to  bond with them. Dr. Bruce Perry states that the quality is just as important as the quantity of touch when it comes to bonding. Due to the physical nature of caring and nurturing our infants, and young children the simple acts we do with them, because we love and want to be close to them is in fact creating a chemical release in our brains. That release of hormones in turn cause the brain to structure itself in a way that creates attachment and bonding. Simply engaging with our loved ones physically causes us to bond.

That’s amazing!

We are hardwired to be in connection with other humans, babies will bond with their caretakers regardless of how they are fed.

If you need some extra support around feeding your infant, or choosing the best methods to feed your baby, we can help!
Schedule a free consultation to learn about our Infant Feeding Specialists and how we can guide you through your next steps.  

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