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12 January 2005

Breastfeeding arousal normal, experts say

A hormone called oxytocin gets much of the credit for forging the bond between a mother and her newborn. Some doctors even refer to it informally as "the cuddle hormone."

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A hormone called oxytocin gets much of the credit for forging the bond between a mother and her newborn. Some doctors even refer to it informally as "the cuddle hormone." Oxytocin levels jump during labour, and again each time a mother breastfeeds.

But this same hormone also plays a role in sexual arousal, and some women find themselves having oddly inappropriate feelings of passion when breastfeeding. Women who experience arousal during breastfeeding often remain silent because it may be embarrassing or seem like paedophilia. Child-care experts say women shouldn't let such feelings get in the way of the mother-child bond.

"It is quite normal and beneficial as it helps bonding," says Allison Fallowfield, a La Leche League counsellor who advises women on breastfeeding.

 
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