Breast Milk Builds Trust
Reported July 22, 2008
(Ivanhoe Newswire) Results of a new study show how the “trust” hormone, oxytocin, is released in a mother’s brain when she is breastfeeding her child.
Oxytocin has long been known to be the hormone that, when released in the blood, causes milk to be let down from the mammary glad so a baby can breastfeed. More recent studies have also linked the hormone to the enhancement of trust and love in both humans and animals, and strengthen the bond between mother and child. With the results of a new European study, researchers now understand exactly how and when that trust-building process works.
When a baby is breastfeeding, oxytocin is released from dendrites the part of a neuron that receives information allowing for a massive increase in communication between neurons in the brain. Massive, intense bursts of oxytocin are then released at intervals of around five minutes or so, according to researchers.
Study authors say understanding this process “gives us a possible explanation of an important event in the brain that could be used to study and explain many other similar brain activities.”
SOURCE: PLoS Computational Biology, 2008;4