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Nature Works in Beautiful Ways for Child Rearing- Part 1

Mothers' outpouring of love for their children is both symbolic and physical and evident in the making of breast milk to raise our children. It is an enthusiastic behavioral surge toward motherhood, but in a way, it is all in the course of nature. During pregnancy the pigment of aureola darkens. As the due date for childbirth approaches this color will increase.

Many Human Biologists believe that the darkening of the aureola came about through natural evolution. There is one theory that before mankind had an abundance of lighted areas during the night, the baby would have a hard time finding the nipple, so biology made it easier for the baby to find the mother's milk, by darkening the aureola.

Nature "thinks" of everything for the child

Breathing of the baby does not differ from a normal breathing pattern when the baby is breastfeeding. On the other hand, it has been observed that babies who drink from the bottle sometimes have an irregular breathing pattern during feeding. The reason for this difference seems to be that when the baby sucks the nipple of the mother, there is a reaction from the mother to secrete milk, but in the case of the bottle, the baby must apply pressure repeatedly on the rubber nipple in order for the milk to come out. Thus, the infant must simultaneously continue to breathe, apply pressure on the rubber nipple and drink the milk, which may be the reason their breathing becomes irregular at times.

When drinking breast milk, the baby does not need to apply pressure on the mother's nipple for him/her to be able to satisfactorily be fed. Thus, the breathing is not affected much. As I mentioned in my last article, breast milk is like a river flowing from the mother to the child, with no special effort needed on the part of the mother or the child, as it is a reflexive reaction. I am always so impressed at how beautiful and creative the course of nature is.

The nature of these hormones is that unless stimulated by the mother-infant interaction of breastfeeding, it will remain dormant. However, once the cycle is put into motion, the hormones will kick into action and secrete milk for the necessary amount of time.

The following are the hormones that are involved in this process:

Prolactin: This is the hormone that is especially important for production and secretion of mother's milk (note 1). Adrenal cortical hormone (growth hormone) (note 2) Insulin, (note 3) and Thyroxine (note 4): These hormones are related to the production and secretion of the mother's milk and serves a metabolic function. Estrogen (note 5) and Progesterone (note 6): The sex hormone that develops the mammary gland organization. Oxytocin (note 7): works to contract the smooth muscles of the uterus as well as the similar surrounding muscles around mammary gland, resulting in the secretion of breast milk.

However, hormones do not secrete by leaving them alone. These hormones will only secrete sufficiently if there is the physical and emotional affection of the mother for the baby and the baby's action to suck on the nipple. The pituitary hormone, prolactin, is especially heavily dependent on the baby's action to suck on the nipple. Conversely, if the density of prolactin in the blood becomes high, regardless of pregnancy and childbirth, it is possible that there will be secretion of breast milk. There have even been reports that even in cases where the baby was adopted, the mother was able to breastfeed her new baby, after repeatedly having the baby suck on the nipple, although the amount is very little.


(Note 1) Prolactin: a pituitary hormone stimulating milk secretion. It is also sometimes referred to as the luteal hormone.

(Note 2) Adrenal cortical hormone: A hormone secreted from the pituitary gland.

(Note 3) Insulin: A hormone secreted by the pancreas helping the body process sugar and carbohydrates.

(Note 4) Thyroxine: A type of thyroid hormone.

(Note 5) Estrogen: A follicle hormone produced in the ovaries. It is also sometimes referred to as the estrus hormone. It regulates the development of the uterus, mammary gland, and onset of menses.

(Note 6) Progesterone: A hormone secreted from the corpus luteum. During pregnancy, it regulates the growth of the uterus and the development of the fertilized ovum. It prevents ovulation during pregnancy and prepares the mammary glands for milk secretion.

(Note 7) Oxytocin: a hormone of the posterior pituitary gland. Facilitates the contractions of the uterus to produce milk secretion.

Kobayashi, Noboru (1991). Ikuji no tameni shizen ha arayurukoto wo suru - 1 (written in Japanese). Tokyo: Child Research Net. Retrieved September 10, 2001, from the World Wide Web:
http://www.crn.or.jp/LIBRARY/KOBY/MIRAI/cbs0084.html
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