Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Preserved Through Motherhood" Part 6

Above Rubies article Preserved through Motherhood by Nancy Campbell. Continued...

God is so good to the mother. he doesn't give her a baby and say, "Here you are; now you can manage on our own." Instead, He gives her two hormones to help her with mothering. Both oxytocin and prolactin are produced in the pregnant and nursing mother. Oxytocin is known by different names-the "love" hormone, the "cuddle" hormone and the "bonding" hormone. I love to call it the "calming" hormone. When the mother puts the baby to the breast and the milk lets down, she experiences a calming feeling come over her. Often she will fall to sleep on the job! This is such a wonderful boon to a mother, especially when she has a number of little children. I was not a calm and relaxed person when I started on the adventure of mother-the very opposite, in fact. But as I nursed my babies over the years, constantly being calmed by this
God-given hormone, my personality changed. My daughters used to call it "relaxin" instead of "oxytocin."
A dear young mother, who I know personally, gave birth to her third baby when her husband had an accident with very serious head injuries. It was touch-and-go for his life. Well-wishing friends advised her to wean her baby because it would be too much for her to cope with, especially as she had to drive an hour and a half to the city each day to visit her husband. But her wise mother encouraged her to continue nursing. Every day, through the long difficult months, she took her nursing baby to the hospital with her. The hormone oxytocin helped reduce her stress levels during this trying ordeal.
Oxytocin is also released in love-making, touching and even eating together. I am sure we would see a lot more peace and contentment if families would sit together and fellowship for their family meals. It is interesting that studies reveal less domestic abuse in breastfeeding families. And few breastfed mothers suffer from postpartum depression.
Oxytocin also causes contraction of the uterus, which inhibits the risk of bleeding and promotes the return of the uterus to its original shape and size.

Prolactin, which in involved in milk production, also has a calming and sedating affect upon the mother. Prolactin increases with sucking stimulation. the more a mother nurses her baby, the more prolactin she produces and the more motherly she feels. An interesting study disclosed that when prolactin was injected into a rooster, he became clucky, gathering the little chickens under his wings. Researchers on animals in the wild show that while nursing, the mother will fight to death any intruder that would touch her young one. But once she has weaned, the young animal is left to fight for itself. This hormone binds the mother to the baby and causes her to be very motherly and protective.

More later...

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