Chapter

Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Oxytocin Released by Suckling and of Skin-to-Skin Contact in Mothers and Infants

Kerstin Uvnäs-Moberg

in Evolution, Early Experience and Human Development

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199755059
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979479 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199755059.003.0017
Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Oxytocin Released by Suckling and of Skin-to-Skin Contact in Mothers and Infants

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This commentary gives an extended and comprehensive description of the effect spectrum caused by oxytocin beyond that of milk ejection. Based on the role of oxytocin as an integrator of behavioral and physiological adaptations during breastfeeding, it proposes a possible connection between the frequent exposure of oxytocin and some of the long-term health-promoting effects seen following breastfeeding. Second, research demonstrates the consequences of touch and pain in infants and their mothers and how massage can induce beneficial effects in mothers and infants presumably by activation of touch fibers. Complementary information on the structure and function of the sensory nerves that innervate the skin is provided. Skin-to-skin contact between mother and infant is a natural way of stimulating sensory nerves emanating from the skin.

Keywords: oxytocin; touch; infant massage; breastfeeding; skin-to-skin; pain

Chapter.  3424 words. 

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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