Also known as the «love hormone», oxytocin is the hormone that, when released, brings the new mom closer to her baby. Learn how to strengthen it!
New mums are usually familiar with the name «oxytocin»: it is a hormone widely known for the important role it plays in childbirth and breastfeeding. It’s responsible for the contractions of the uterus during labor, and also for milk production and the milk let-down reflex during breastfeeding. Oxytocin is a hormone produced in the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland at the base of the brain and released during childbirth. It is secreted from the hypothalamus into the central nervous system and stored in the pituitary gland. This hormone contributes to the formation of uterine contractions, the secretion of milk, and vasodilation. Oxytocin “touches” a large number of nerve cells in the brain and is especially important for women, as it affects not only childbirth but also the entire process of breastfeeding. High oxytocin levels will help you more easily overcome labor pains, heal your wounds, and recover faster physically.
The emotional hormone
However, oxytocin not only affects our body but also affects our emotions to a large extent in many different ways. It helps us to accept changes in our lives and to accept new people or situations, as well as to bond with our newborn baby. In essence, oxytocin is the “key to our emotional world”, but also the best natural painkiller.
Ways to increase oxytocin
There are many natural ways to increase the production of oxytocin in your body, both during pregnancy and when your baby is born, to strengthen your emotional bond with him.
1. Try to get 4 to 5 hours of sleep a night
Sleep deprivation is pretty much unavoidable when you have a baby. But try to get a four-five hour stretch of sleep every day: this is the time necessary for your body to start producing oxytocin. Adjust to your baby’s sleeping patterns and see what works best for you as a family.
2. Eat small and frequent meals
Usually, new moms are so busy with their baby that they forget even the basic meals. Organize your meals properly and eat small and healthy snacks, such as fruit, a cereal bar, or a small salad.
3. Keep warm
Just like being hungry, being cold is stressful for your body. There’s a reason why in so many traditional cultures it is really important to keep the new mum wrapped up warm all the time. Keep the house at a nice warm temperature and wear long sleeves and socks.
4. Don’t have too many visitors
Feeling lonely and isolated is definitely not good for oxytocin production, but having too many visitors can also be a source of stress. You don’t want to be making small talk or entertain guests. The “kind” of visitors you need, are the ones who you can be honest with, who clean the house or bring food, and around whom you feel comfortable breastfeeding.
5. Do things that make you happy
Anything that gives you joy can increase your oxytocin levels. A delicious meal, a little laughter, hugs with your baby, and your partner can significantly boost the hormone that regulates your mood. Do what makes you happy!
6. Avoid stressful situations
As much as possible, and try to stay calm.
7. «Listen» to your body
Eat when you are hungry and drink when you are thirsty.
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