The Hormonal Benefits for Mothers and Babies of KMC


  • Author Tony And Nyrie Roos
  • Published March 10, 2011
  • Word count 518

Production of certain hormones before, during and after pregnancy not only aid in the physiological process of child bearing, but in the emotional process as well. Certain hormones are produced which promote the mother and child bond. Kangaroo Mother Care or KMC began as a method for caring for premature babies and is now recommended for all newborns. KMC consists of three parts: skin to skin contact, exclusive breastfeeding and the mother/infant dyad. Interestingly, the methods of KMC compliment the workings of both mother and baby hormonal systems in a way that is, well…natural.

Skin-to-Skin contact: KMC recommends continuous skin to skin contact between baby’s front and mother’s chest. Continued skin to skin contact causes continued release of oxytocin for both mother and baby. Oxytocin produces feelings of love as well as feelings of calm and well being. Oxytocin production increases before labor and continues through delivery. It results in you as a Mom being sensitive to your baby’s unique scent and being and this is the same for your baby.

Exclusive breastfeeding: Mother’s milk provides everything that a baby needs. Prolactin is released in response to your baby’s sucking and contributes to milk production. Additionally, it is partially responsible for your mothering feelings. Continued prolactin release also triggers opioid hormones. You could say that opioids are our body’s own opiates. Like morphine, they reduce pain and induce feelings of pleasure, but without the dangerous side effects. Of course, these opioids travel through a mother’s breast milk to her baby, causing its own opioid releases as a conditioned response to the mothers hugs and kisses. Early breast feeding also induces a blast of oxytocin, and exclusive breastfeeding keeps these levels high. Your baby also produces his/her own oxytocin and they also get some from you through breastfeeding..

Between skin to skin contact and breastfeeding, a continuous supply of oxytocin will cause permanent changes in a mother’s brain. This hardwires her natural mothering instincts, which will spills over to others. The constant supply of prolactin also increases a mothers natural mothering instincts. In addition, breastfeeding moms produce less of the stress hormone, cortisol. For baby, the constant supply of oxytocin lowers the production of stress hormones, and also helps the organization of the part of baby’s brain that deals with stress. So, both you as a mother and your baby benefit from the feelings of calm, nurturing and closeness, which creates a powerful permanent bond between the two of you.

The mother/infant dyad: This is all about keeping a mother and baby together. Separation of any kind causes stress for both mother and baby, releasing stress related hormones, such as cortisol. Prolonged exposure to such stress hormones has detrimental effect on health. Therefore the important thing for a Mom and her baby is to stay close and continue the love, warmth, food and nurturing through Kangaroo Mother Care.

Kangaroo Mother Care gives Moms and baby’s the launch pad for long term physical and emotional well being. Remember, the two were never meant to be separated.

For more information on The Hormonal Benefits for Mothers and Babies of KMC please visit Tony and Nyrie Roos are a resource for natural parenting practices and kangaroo mother care.

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