While every mother certainly loves her child unconditionally, there are some that feel a stronger natural bond than others. Their love might run deep, but they might not feel that strong and invisible attachment to their baby. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, though there is a high level of social pressure to be the best mom on the block. In fact, if you feel as though the bond you have with your baby is not as strong as you might have expected, it’s probably the result of a biological condition and is out of your control.

Oxytocin is referred to as the “love hormone” by experts for its crucial role in sex, love, and bonding. It is released when we touch another person or even an animal. It’s secreted from the pituitary gland and it’s associated with evolutionary tribal behavior. When we secrete the hormone, we create an unbreakable bond with our loved ones and feel the need to reject outsiders. Oxytocin is produced in our everyday lives, but a recent study shows that the amount produced during pregnancy could determine whether or not a mother feels that undeniable bond with her child.

Mothers with higher levels of oxytocin, even just in the first trimester, were more likely to have a strong bond with their baby. This bond was measured not only by the emotional feeling towards their baby, but also by how committed the mother was. Mothers with a stronger bond were more likely to get up and feed their baby in the middle of the night right away, or rush to the baby whenever he or she was fussing.

If you notice that your bond is not as strong as you expected, you and your baby will turn out just fine. Of course, just because you feel the urge to rush to your baby’s side doesn’t mean you won’t take care of him or her. If you’re pregnant and worried about missing out on that bond, there are ways you can increase your oxytocin levels naturally. Intimacy and touching are the best ways to boost your oxytocin. Even having a pet will help, as you’ll be able to pick them up and pet them whenever you’d like. Making eye contact with your spouse is another simple way to boost your oxytocin levels. By doing so during pregnancy, you’ll have a higher chance of achieving that unique bond.

Source: Gareth Leng et al: Oxytocin and the Maternal Brain. Current Opinion in Pharmacology Volume 8 Issue 6 pp. 731-734 December 2008

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