During the end of your pregnancy the Oxytocin receptors multiply and help to promote maternal behavior. Studies have shown that during labour a surge of Oxytocin is released into the placenta along with the final burst of antibodies passing them to the baby. A mother can also produce high levels of Oxytocin by just simply holding her baby, particularly during skin to skin contact. Many studies have shown that the levels of Oxytocin produced in babies are largely dependent on the amount of infant touch a baby experiences. These studies also demonstrated that the Oxytocin hormone balances out the stress hormone Cortisone therefore increase the attachment and a sense of security.
Another hormone that is released when becoming a parent is Vasopressin. It is present in mothers but higher levels of Vasopressin are released in fathers in order to develop their behaviours of protection. Vasopressin suppresses the father’s testosterone levels to temper his aggression and rationalise his thinking. Vasopressin is released in response to closeness and touch, it promotes bonding between Mother and Father as well as Father and Baby, building a firm family foundation.
However, the above all refers to the ‘text book’ science behind creating a hormonal bond between Parents and Baby. In reality many mums feel an overwhelming sense of inadequacy, resentment and struggle to cope with the demands of a new baby. There are many reasons that can contribute to the lack of bonding between mother and baby including, traumatic births, previous relationship issues and postnatal depression. If bonding is not an automatic explosion of hormones during labour, there are ways that a mother or father can encourage the bonding to happen.
Just like skin to skin contact, A Lullaby Lucy Baby massage encourages the released of Oxytocin and therefore develop the bond between you and baby. Baby massage is seen in many cultures as an integral part of childcare and has for many years, more recently many UK doctors and midwives recommend baby massage to help parents bond with their baby.