How can you use your hormones to become a better and happier parent?
The fourth trimester (Newborn) is a time of rapid growth for your baby. He’s adapting from the unchanging environment of the womb to a world of sensory stimulation and new relationship, primarily with the parents.
Unlike most of the baby mammals in the animal kingdom, human babies cannot get up and walk after birth. Yes, your baby may be physically helpless, but he is born to unlock all the powerful emotions and physical response in both the parents
Your baby needs your help and care to help him grow and build his brain connections. Simply, he wants his parents to meet his needs and your hormone drive you to meet those needs.
EFFECT OF HORMONES AS A MOTHER
After you’ve delivered your baby you deliver your placenta, the levels of the hormones progesterone and estrogen, necessary for the nine months of your pregnancy, start to fall
The mother’s body starts to register that the baby is starting life as a separate person, who needs love, warmth, and food from you. The perfect way to nourish your baby is to have a skin-to-skin connection and encourage breastfeeding
Start to cuddle and feed your baby, this triggers the release of oxytocin, the “love” hormone, and dopamine, the “feel-good” hormone. These will help you to build a strong emotional bond between the mother and the baby
The most powerful hormone is the “oxytocin” which will stimulate you to nurture your baby, meeting his needs by feeding, touch, eye-to-eye contact, and tenderness. It will make it easy and help you get through the early days of parenting, where you will have to give almost all the attention and dedication towards your baby by feeding him round the clock and sleep deprivation starts to make its room
The joy of bringing your little one into the world starts to fade away because you feel tired and weak all the time, this continues just after a few weeks after your delivery. This is commonly called “baby blues”
You feel overwhelmed with emotions, as you start to adopt the responsibilities as a parent. The baby blues only last for a few days and are perfectly normal for new mums
Oxytocin can help you through the natural transition of the baby blues. The production of these hormones increases by holding your baby skin-to-skin, admiring him, smelling him, kissing him for his acts.
Your baby will need that same atmosphere to that as your womb and the warmth of your skin, which will increase the level of oxytocin too.
The mother’s pregnancy hormones decrease, but at the same time the milk-making hormone, prolactin, increases in great levels. These milk-making hormones help your body to stimulate a large amount of highly nutritious colostrums and then after two to three days a large amount of milk is released
The prolactin and the oxytocin hormones are released from the pituitary gland in your brain every time you feed your baby. These two hormones will send a message to your brain to make as much milk as your baby needs.
If the mother stops to breastfeed the baby, then the level of prolactin will fall to the normal pre-pregnancy level. But still, you can keep the level of oxytocin high by formula-feeding your baby. Give him lots of love, maintain a skin-to-skin connection, chat with him, because your baby already recognizes your voice from the womb and finds comfort to hear a familiar voice.
Oxytocin is the magic ingredient that creates love and trust between the parent and the baby. Aim to be a good mum rather than a perfect mum.
HOW DO YOUR HORMONES EFFECT YOU AS A FATHER
The best way to make use of the opportunity as a parent is during the fourth trimester where you start to bond with your baby
Hormonal changes do happen even in the fathers, which will help you bond with your baby, not only bonding but also it helps you to adjust to the roles of a dad.
Feeling more emotional than usual is normal. Researches show that if you take paternity leave you are likely to be happier by the end of the fourth trimester which will have long term benefits to your child too.
To avoid the developmental problems in your child, you need to have plenty of bonding with your child when he is an infant.
Now, as we all know that oxytocin is a powerful hormone that helps in the bonding of the mother and the baby, the same goes with dads as well. The father too produces oxytocin, when you hold your baby skin-to-skin.
The father’s hormones can even affect the mother’s hormones. When your partner is breastfeeding, her brain releases oxytocin helping her to release more milk and build the bond between them
Once your baby is born, the testosterone levels fall for 2 to 3 months. The reduction of testosterone is coupled with the increase in the level of oxytocin which makes you more comfortable with bonding with your baby.
You become more sensitive towards the baby and your partner’s needs. This is a very important thing because when the baby is attached to his parents the baby’s brain develops faster. The baby understands that his need can be fulfilled.
The more time you spend with your baby, the more responsive he becomes to you. All that you do during the paternity leave helps you to build your relationship with your family.
Keep the level of oxytocin high by bonding more with your baby.