Let’s Talk Hormones

What is a Hormone?

It is a biochemical produced in tissue that travels through the bloodstream and produces physiological responses in other parts of the body. Let’s examine oxytocin. Oxytocin is often called the “love or feel good” hormone. It stimulates contractions of the uterus during and after labor. The hypothalamus releases oxytocin during breastfeeding, which causes milk release as the mother’s nipples are stimulated when the baby suckles. Oxytocin also encourages feelings of bonding between mother and child, man and woman (especially during intimacy), and as the diagram shows, between father and child. It is very interesting to see how an uninvolved dad affects the oxytocin levels in the mother and baby.



Some other hormones present in either parent or the baby are: Prolactin, which helps with milk production, and fosters nurturing and caring. It also helps regulate immune function; and like oxytocin, it is released by the stimulation of baby’s suckling. Vasopressin is a relative hormone to oxytocin. It promotes feelings and motivations of pleasure and reward, and promotes social and intimate attachments in men. Isn’t it fascinating how our bodies can produce hormones that encourage love and bonding in a family?


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