Hormones We Like
We, as women, always blame things on our hormones.
“I was PMSing so of course I yelled at the cable guy for coming 5 minutes early.”
“I am pregnant and hormonal so yes I cried at the commercial for ice cream.”
“I need chocolate. It’s not me, it's my hormones making me crave it.”
And the list goes on.
But did you know that breastfeeding moms may actually have a reason to be grateful for their hormone fluctuations?
During a feeding, nursing releases both oxytocin and prolactin - hormones that signal your body to produce and let down breast milk. These bad boys also produce feelings of relaxation and bonding with baby.
The instant calming effect these hormones have on you may be a welcome change.
New motherhood can be a very anxiety-provoking time. You’re likely feeling overwhelmed. The dishes and laundry are piling up.
You might be worrying about going back to work and leaving baby at the hands of some daycare provider.
Or you’re worrying about not going back to work and what it’ll be like to be a SAHM for the first time.
It’s enough for anyone to lose it, let alone someone who’s had very little shut eye in weeks.
So it’s time for you to embrace this breastfeeding benefit.
HOW TO CHEAT THE SYSTEM SAFELY
Knowing the impact that prolactin and oxytocin will have on you during a feeding session, you should feel free to use these hormone releases to your advantage.
Can’t get your brain to shut off? Well, go in and nurse your baby. It's better than Xanax.
Can’t fall asleep? Breastfeed! You’ll head back to bed ready to conk out.
Sure, it’s not the most conventional idea, but it works!
That said, it’s imperative to approach this safely. If you're prone to passing out while breastfeeding, always take precautions to ensure that baby is secure. The minute you feel yourself getting drowsy, place him safely in his crib. If you’re co-sleeping, ensure that you’ve put her in a position in which she’s free from any danger. Never put baby at risk of your falling asleep!
On a side note, oxytocin has another great benefit for nursing moms: uterine contractions. This means the hormone helps your uterus return to its original size more quickly (can you say, smaller tummy?) and it helps reduce postpartum bleeding (which can last as long as six weeks after delivery).
So next time you go bad-mouthing your hormones, remember, they’re not all bad.
The information contained on this site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician and/or lactation consultant.