Since it is February, I decided to write my last blog about the hormone oxytocin and how causes bonding between men and women. I thought it was an interesting discovery that hormones contribute to the bonding process of male/female relationships.
I also mentioned that oxytocin is known to create bonding between mother and child.
This weekend I had the opportunity to spend time with one of my friends, who is a new mother. It was impressive that after writing about oxytocin and how it bonds a mother with her child I could see it working first hand. My friend is a great mother and I knew that she would be caring, protective, smart, thoughtful and practical. What I was pleasantly surprised to see for the first time in 25 years that I have known her, was her incredible affection. She kisses and cuddles and plays with her child all the time. She has admitted that her greatest surprise about being a mother is that she falls more in love with her child every single day.
I am overjoyed to see her being so openly loving and affectionate with her child. Children always to respond to being touched, held, and kissed. Until they can comprehend words and language, body language is the best way to communicate love. The affection my friend showers on her child is the perfect way to let him know he is loved. You can see it in his expressions and feedback to his mom. He soaks it up and knows that he is loved by her and his father. (His father is very affectionate too- but his father has always been affectionate to his family and friends so this is not new behavior for him). It is so beautiful to see such a loving family.
I believe that oxytocin is behind the new found affectionate behavior. She is breast-feeding, so oxytocin is obviously circulating in her blood stream. It is the hormone responsible for helping to release milk into the breast ducks. The wonderful thing about oxytocin, is that once the bonding has occurred, it is permanent even after women stop breastfeeding. It is amazing how one hormone can influence social bonding for mothers and babies as well as male and female relationships.
That is the wonder of the human body.