Thursday, January 20, 2011
Also known as the cuddle chemical, this hormone that is responsible for inducing labour, also plays a key role in adoption attachment! Who would have thought!? Oxytocin is responsible for creating the feeling of attachment or bonding. When you cuddle, breastfeed etc. your child, oxytocin is released making you both feel loved and helps to form a bond. Babies and children need loving touch to develop the oxytocin response that will teach them to bond with others.
Because most orphans are not held and cuddled as often as an average child, they have been found to have lower levels of oxytocin. This means that when you cuddle with your adopted child, the oxytocin that is released is a fraction of what it should be!... Meaning that bonding is not going to come as easy. What this means for adopted families is that to elicit the same amount of oxytocin in an adoptive child that you would see in your biological child for example, you would need to cuddle or play with that child 2-3 times as long!
So keep playing and cuddling!!
(I discovered this information in the book Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child by Patty Cogen. It is the best adoption book I have read so far, I highly recommend it!!)