You are my absolute favourite of all the hormones. You promote pair bonding and motherly love. You are just all round totally awesome (see here for more info on the fascinating science of love). You are even released at Orgasm. ( here is an interesting article on the neuroscience of sex- though not convinced an orgasmless marriage is the perfect way to keep oxytocin levels and hence the pair bond steady?! ;))
On Pair Bonding Wikipedia says:
Oxytocin evokes feelings of contentment, reductions in anxiety, and feelings of calmness and security around the mate. Many studies have already shown a correlation of oxytocin with human bonding, increases in trust, and decreases in fear.
(Although bit scared to read this also on the Wiki page “The inability to secrete oxytocin and feel empathy is linked to sociopathy, psychopathy, narcissism and general manipulativeness,” that explains a lot about a few people I know 😉 )
On Breastfeeding, Oxytocin and Maternal bonding I recently found article on breastfeeding, oxytocin and neglect tweeted by KellyMom, to be fascinating. I know for me, following an incredibly traumatic birth, breastfeeding massively helped with my bonding with Oddler. Initially I felt quite detached from her (I had thought we were both going to die – it was a protection mechanism) but breastfeeding was definitely the thing that awakened my maternal bond. (That’s not saying people who don’t breastfeed are not as attached to their babies, that would be stupid, it’s obviously not the only thing affecting a maternal bond, but it has been found to help strengthen it.)
I even have my own oxytocin anecdote (every girl needs one!), I was double pumping a breastmilk top up before bed and LordCurd came over to give me a snog goodnight (he’s been relegated to spare room while Omble feeds all night) and suddenly my milk yield had a huge temporary increase- I could see it in the pump kit! It was hilarious a simple snog must have released Oxytocin and helped with my let down reflex.
I spoke to a lactation consultant about it, and she thought it absolutely brilliant “what a lovely wonderful thing, it obviously proves how much you love him, he must have been really pleased!” Erm he was more creeped out than anything else! I found it funny and weirdly cool, but perhaps a tricky and somewhat odd thing to implement- lots of snogging while pumping to help milk yield. 😉
But yay for Oxytocin. I loves you I do.