Presentation Information

Carina Krasnoff

Oxytocin and Skin to Skin Contact: The Power of Touch During Breastfeeding

  • Speaker: Carina Krasnoff , MD IBCLC
  • Presentation Type:
  • Duration: 60 Mins
  • Credits: 1 CERP, 1 Nursing CEU, 1 CME, 0.1 Midwifery CEU, 1 Dietetic CEU

We sense the world as threatening or pleasant through our skin. Sensations such as warmth, heat, cold, intense or dim light, gentle or aggressive touch can both stimulate and inhibit our autonomic nervous system and oxytocinergic system. When the baby is in skin-to-skin contact with his mother, he moves his little hands to "massage" his mother's chest, thus generating oxytocin pulses (Uvnas-Moberg 2003). The moderate pressure contact exerted by the baby's body on the mother's body generates a tactile stimulus that triggers a strong associated vagal response of calm and wellness.

More and more research is being added in relation to the power of touch in the release of oxytocin and the stimulation of the vagal system. This presentation will look at how touch, the mother of senses, provides mother and baby the input to the oxytocinergic system playing an integral role in the biological-behavioral regulation of lactation. As care providers, learning how to nuture these encouters between parent and baby and teach about why it is so important will help to improve breastfeeding duration and create families attentive to the needs of their children.