Showing posts from April, 2016

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Is Love Simply a Puff of Oxytocin?

Oxytocin has powerful effects on sexual and maternal bonding.  In humans, too.

Let’s imagine ourselves in a farm of yesteryear, where they milk the cows by hand. Look carefully at what they do.  The person milking the cow gently pulls and squeezes each teat. A few seconds later there is a squirt of milk into the bucket.  It’s the same in lactating women.  The baby doesn’t suck the milk out of the breast, but the stimulation of his/her mouth causes a similar spurt of milk.  There are women who claim to be able to squirt their milk across the room. The ejection of milk into the hungry baby’s mouth is an essential part of maternal care.
Milk ejection comes about because of a reflex, set up by the baby’s mouth sucking on the nipple. The nerves from the breast carry this stimulus to the brain, where it activates a group of very special nerve cells.  These cells make oxytocin, which is then released, via the pituitary gland, into the blood, and travels to the breast.  Th…