The Love Hormone: Oxytocin Release and Bonding
Did you know that hormones play a huge role in the deep connection you feel for your newborn? Amazing things happen in your body once you give birth – including the release of oxytocin, also known as the Love Hormone. This surge of hormones helps you develop a strong bond with your baby from the very beginning! Take a look at how this amazing process works, and how to make the most of your early bonding moments with baby.
The Golden Hour
The first hour after birth (also called the “golden hour”) is a critical time to maximize the bonding experience between you and your and baby. There is a surging oxytocin release after birth that causes your senses to be intensified, allowing you to connect with the smell and feel of your baby. Likewise, your baby becomes attracted to your scent.
The hour after birth is a perfect time to start skin-to-skin contact by placing baby on your chest. This signals both of your bodies to release more of the love hormone, which helps with milk release. During skin-to-skin, baby also has his first chance to find and latch onto your breast to begin breastfeeding. Research has shown allowing this learning experience in the first hours after birth improves breastfeeding outcomes.
There’s no time limit on bonding!
If you can't be with your newborn immediately after birth for any reason, don't worry. Once you and baby are healthy enough, starting skin-to-skin at any point and doing it often will help build up your special bond.
From the day you learned you were pregnant, you were anticipating the arrival of your little one – and once baby is in your arms, the love and connection you feel is real. Keep the bond strong with as much skin-to-skin connection as possible, and breastfeeding early and often. Your own mom instincts and that amazing love hormone will help as you begin to build the bond with your newest addition.