As a mom-to-be, you’ve got lots of hormones coursing through your body and some of them can be a real bear to handle. Thank goodness one of them is a love potion: Oxytocin.
In Boot Camp for New Moms, we talk a lot about this known “love hormone,” because it does so much during pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and baby bonding. Oxytocin promotes human connections, relationships, intimacy and trust. It decreases stress and increases relaxation, patience, and empathy. From the start, through skin-to-skin contact, you and your spouse have been triggering rushes of this hormone in each other (it created a baby!).
What’s not to love about this feel-good chemical?
For women, we see that positive pregnancy test and—boom—our oxytocin level revs up. Just thinking about our baby sends us a big surge of it. In childbirth, oxytocin stimulates contractions, in breastfeeding, it helps with milk let down, and it’s the star player in baby bonding. In fact, the power of oxytocin is so intense it can make us feel laser-focused on our baby. Really laser focused. So much so that we have a hard time concentrating on anything else which leaves Dad out in the cold.
Remember, you’ve got to share the love.
If you sense you’ve fallen down the oxytocin rabbit hole of hyper-focus, step away from the baby and let Dad get in on the bonding. It’s good for him, it’s good for the baby, and it’s good for you since you benefit from their close connection and get a much needed break!
When it comes to oxytocin, enjoy all the benefits and warm fuzzy feelings, but don’t forget to keep sharing the love.