First comes love, then comes babies, then comes ... a crazy chemical reaction!?
Parents, get ready for the greatest news you'll here all day. When it comes to parenthood, there is no better feeling than raising a family with the love of your life. To say that making the decision to have kids with your partner is life-changing would be a major understatement (and pretty obvious so we won't say it).
But according to recent studies, they are even more perks to having a "mini me" running around the house!
In fact, science confirms what we pretty much already knew: Children bring partners closer together. But there's so much more to it than that. Apparently, we can thank oxytocin, which is famous for being the love or bonding hormone, for that feeling of closeness we get.
The best part is that this hormone has many functions. For starters, not only does it increase a woman's attachment after sex, it also helps guide her maternal instincts after childbirth (and during breastfeeding). Scientists have actually found that this hormone has actualy played a significant role in the relationship that moms share with their children.
Ironically enough, men also produce the same hormone, but it's long been debated as to what extent its bonding powers work on the opposite sex. A recent study out of Israel suggests that a man's oxytocin levels may actually be on par with their partners' when raising their kids together.
Researchers drew blood from 80 couples who were raising a six-week old baby and found identical amounts of the bonding chemical in their blood stream. As the child matured to six months, the scientists once again analyzed the levels and found the same result. It seems that new moms and dads experience an increase in their oxytocin levels as their children get older.
How sweet is that?!
The team noticed a few other things, too. Women are way more affectionate when it comes to parenting behaviors while men have what's been categorized as stimulatory parenting behaviors. This basically means that men bond through the rough housing and wrestling variety.
While little is known about these 80 couples other then the fact they live together, if their oxytocin levels are on par, does that mean the couples themselves become more bonded—independent of the child? While children often lead to a more stressful household, often those stressors can be traced back to money and time; yet with parallel bonding chemicals surging through both parents, it's only logical to think that even the most distant of couples would become less so.
Check out this other interesting tidbit: There are more intimate activities that can increase these same oxytocin levels such as making eye contact, engaging in some pretty steamy foreplay or having sex.