Oxytocin and the importance of bonding.
Oxytocin is the hormone of love. It is this hormone which is responsible for the overwhelming feeling of love and nurture you experience when baby is born. It is what makes you want to hold baby and hug baby. For some of you it is what floods your bodies with that immense feeling of love when your baby is born. For others of you this feeling needs to be nurtured. Mummies don’t worry everyone is different, you will fall in love with your beautiful new baby! Don’t be too hard on yourself you have just gone through the miracle of growing and birthing a baby; that’s a lot of hard work! Falling in love is a process that is activated and nurtured through the hormone oxytocin. The good news is that it is so easy to do. Oxytocin is the cuddle hormone.
The first sense that is developed in babies is touch. Through touch you can develop a strong secure loving bond with your baby. This love hormone, oxytocin, it just loves you holding, touching, hugging and stroking your baby. Through these activities of nurturing touch oxytocin is released bringing with it the overpowering feeling of love and nurture.
Another wonderful part of oxytocin is the hormones ability to lower your stress levels, reduce your heart rate and blood pressure giving you a sense of calm. Exactly what you need as a new mother to care for your new baby confidently and be relaxed.
How can you encourage the release of oxytocin?
Skin to skin contact is amazing for the release of the hormone oxytocin. It is also an activity that dads and siblings can utilise. Place baby on the bare skin of your chest. Ensure baby doesn't get cold. Enjoy time together cuddling and getting to know each other.
Create a snuggle bubble when you actively give baby unique time with yourself. Ensure you just focus on you and your baby. Hold them, stroke them and nurture them you are bonding with them.
Baby massage! This is such an amazing gift to share with your baby. Not only will the loving time with your baby and the exchange of love between you release oxytocin;but you will learn techniques to aid you in coping with common ailments of infants. Teething, wind, constipation and sleeping are just a few. This article is written in 2020 during the global pandemic and going to a baby group such as baby massage isn't an option. Many of the lovely baby massage facilitators have classes on line now so spend some time investigating which feels a fit with you.
All that releasing of oxytocin in both baby and you will create a love bubble that you can keep on filling and expanding. It will empower you to feel confident in the gift of love you have created and shared with your baby.
In short to create a strong loving secure bond with your baby you need oxytocin. To produce oxytocin you need cuddles, snuggles, nurturing touch and lots of positive skin to skin contact. The good news is hold baby, snuggle baby, stroke baby and nurture baby as much as you like. You can not spoil your baby through giving them love and the gift of a secure loving bond.
The Importance of Bonding
Establishing a good secure bond between you and your baby is core to you both thriving. It is fundamental in both infant & maternal mental health. For some mothers this happens the moment they have their baby safely in their arm, for others that feeling lasts for a fleeting moment and for some they are bewildered and confused that they don’t fall in love with their beautiful baby straight away.
No mother should feel guilty for their feelings. They should be supported, loved and cared for as they get to know their baby and establish a bond of love, attachment and care.
Take a look at the three main reasons establishing a secure bond is important and remind yourselves that it is the job of society to support new mums. Most importantly mums; when baby was born you to were birthed as a mummy and to your baby you are perfect!
For Babies Needs to be Met. Your baby is unable to communicate their needs verbally. This does not mean they are unable to communicate their needs. Your baby is very capable of communicating their needs through body language, cries, eye contact, suckling and other subtle signs. It is down to you as mum to learn to read these and respond to the need. Wow! Mums your amazing! You’ve just given birth and now your learning a whole new language. By learning this language a secure bond is established through meeting baby’s needs quickly, with love and without stress. It is vital for baby to feel secure and loved. You as a mum feel empowered and a more solid and strong bond is created; babies needs are met and the circle continues growing the bond and love between you and your baby. It is important that you as mum has support in creating this love bubble between you and your baby. Ideally this should be the only job mum has in the first few weeks following birth!
To Grow the Emotional and Social Development of the Infant and Child. Creating a strong bond between your baby and you enables your baby to explore the world from your arms. So mummy never feel guilty for holding baby. You are building a strong foundation based on security and positivity. Because of this foundation your baby will feel secure enough to have positive social interactions safe in the knowledge that your arms will always be there if and when they are needed. Your baby will grow into a positive, empathic, loving member of society. Remember no matter what, you are being the best mum you can. To your baby you are their world and perfect.
For the Benefit of the Mother. It is important to establish a good bond for the the release of prolactin to help create a positive breastfeeding experience. Through the bonding process the hormone oxytocin is released which fills you with an overpowering feeling of love. Through the circle of bonding this hormone is released and the feeling of love grows. By nurturing, growing and establishing a strong bond you as mother becomes empowered. This creates a positive experience which raises your confidence with your infant.
An underlying feeling in many mothers with postnatal depression is the lack of bond they have with their baby. For these Mummies it is important that they find and receive the support they need. A bond can be nurtured and grown over time, it does not need to be an instant feeling of falling in love. Creating and growing the bond helps these Mummies with the healing of their postnatal depression.
A strong secure bond = a happy, loving, responsive mummy!
Support the new mums you know today. Be kind to yourself as a mother through your inner dialogue and expectations. Reach out if you need help. Create a society where mums are supporting mums and raising the global motherhood vibration.
Love & Abundance,
Nixie — The Motherhood Mentor
All opinions published in this article are the author’s own.