The love hormone. Released with a hug (20 seconds is best), a kiss, touch, massage, loving words, sex, orgasm, labour, breastfeeding, looking at our loved ones. It makes muscles contract, including the muscles of our heart, and we can feel it.
Someone once said that sex and birth is the same event separated by time. Oxytocin is same hormone released in orgasm to conceive, and in the waves of power of labour, and the fetal ejection reflex of pushing a baby out.
Oxytocin is released more when it is dark.
Oxytocin is released when we sniff our newborn baby's head, when we cuddle them skin-to-skin. Oxytocin reduces adrenaline and cortisol from the birth, in us, our babies, and our partners. Oxytocin is released when the baby nudges the breast and starts to nuzzle or feed. Oxytocin makes the uterus contract down, the placenta to separate and to be born. Oxytocin stops the bleeding at the place on the uterus where the placenta was attached.
Oxytocin makes the tiny slithers of muscle around each and every milk cell in the breast contract and release the milk, the 'let down' of milk. Sometimes it can be felt. Oxytocin released when feeding causes our womb to contract and become smaller, often called after pains.
Oxytocin is needed in our baby to help their brain grow, to make connections between the neurons. Oxytocin makes our babies feel loved and safe. Oxytocin helps our babies and toddlers to settle, to regulate their emotions, bring them to calm after an upset.
Oxytocin, from peer-to-peer over clothes massage, has been shown to reduce aggressive playground behaviour. Oxytocin sprays in prisons reduce aggressive behaviour in inmates, in studies.
Adults who didn't get enough oxytocin as children can find the oxytocin at birth difficult to handle.
The world needs more oxytocin. Be the oxytocin giver. Spread the love. Bring about world peace through oxytocin.
(To read more about oxytocin I recommend any of the books by Kerstin Uvas Moberg including Why oxytocin matters, The oxytocin factor: tapping the hormone of calm, love and healing, and The hormone of closeness: the role of oxytocin in relationships. The references for everything in this blog are in these books.)
I am a doula and antental teacher in Bedfordshire. I send you lots of love xxxx