It all happens through the magic of oxytocin.
Oxytocin, often referred to as the "love hormone," is a hormone produced in our bodies in response to physical touch, cuddling, or bonding with other humans. It is a key component in labor and birth, and an important element of early bonding between parents and infants.
Skin to skin contact, especially chest to chest, can help to increase oxytocin production - and the benefits are pretty incredible!
More oxytocin means:
Improved mood and maternal behavior - oxytocin functions like an antidepressant and increases a sense of well being and security
Reduced aggression and anxiety
Lower blood pressure
Increased pain threshold
An overall sense of healthy bond and attachment
Consistent and regulated milk production in mothers
And the best part? Infants who experience healthy and consistent oxytocin production through contact, bond, and touch, seem to carry these benefits with them throughout their lives as they bond, love, and live.
Carrying your little one chest to chest today may be helping them build the pathways that will help them bond with their own babies some day in the future. That's pretty magical.
Oxytocin research in this post summarized from the work of Dr. Kersten Moberg, MD, PHD, by way of the Bond Conference 2016. Dr. Moberg is widely accepted as the world wide authority on oxytocin and physiological mechanisms of birth, breast feeding, and maternal adaptation.
This post is part of LÍLLÉbaby's celebration of World Breastfeeding Week.