Friday, 12 February 2010

Love is in the air

For those among you who celebrate it: Happy Saint Valentine Day!

Some time ago I found out about the hormon oxytocin. It is the hormon involved in "long-term love", and it seems that there are few animals that produce it besides humans. It is linked to monogamy, promotes bonding patterns and it is produced by both sexes during orgasm (and now you may wonder why I am talking about it in my blog).

I was really wondering why you feel so good as mother when you breastfeed your baby. It feels very nice, just like you are deep connecting with the little one in your arms. Ok, I should add that the first week breatfeeding was not so nice; I felt it was just a bit painy and weird. But, I was wondering, do all mothers feel the same or was I an exception? The answer is (you guess it): oxytocin.

Oxytocin is produced during labour, it is also involved in the process of breastfeeding and in the bonding between mother and child. There are tons of information in internet about it (some weird webpages will even try to persuade you to buy a love potion made with oxytocin!). I am quoting now:

Oxytocin has been described as the ‘love hormone’ and it is secreted when falling in love with another adult, or a baby, and it makes mothers feel relaxed, contented and less anxious.


And another quote of a source that talks about oxytocin and love:

So the brains of people deeply in love do not look like those of people experiencing strong emotions, but instead like those of people snorting coke. Love, in other words, uses the neural mechanisms that are activated during the process of addiction.


Long live oxytocin!

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