Whether or not your first days as a parent were spent breastfeeding on the couch watching Oprah, like me or not, psychologists now understand that the bonding between a parent and child (or caregiver and child) occurs in a myriad of ways. The important thing is that bonding happens! Without developing the ability to care about ourselves and each other…we rarely possess the kind of heroic heart we need to thrive in life.
Good news from psychoneurobiology research: the underlying processes associated with bonding now reassures parents that skin-to-skin contact is also one of the primary triggers for oxytocin’s release. Oxytocin being the stock for the chemical soup that is parental love. Simply holding our child triggers a release of love-inducing chemicals (opiods, for example—those pleasure-giving, rewarding neurochemicals that calm us, relieve pain, and generally reward life-sustaining behaviors).