Baby Bonding and the Love Hormone


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.  (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Bonding with your baby may seem like it should come naturally. But as many as ten to 20 percent of new moms deal with postpartum depression and that could impact their baby’s development. A new study aims to see how the so-called love hormone could help.

Aviva Zito loves being a mom. But when her fourth child Zeke was born, she admits it was a rocky start.

Zito told Ivanhoe, “Your hormones obviously are still out of whack. You cry easily.”

Nancy Aaron Jones, Ph.D., a child psychologist at Florida Atlantic University’s Department of Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, wanted to know how a baby’s physiology, behavior and interactions with their mother change depending on whether the mother is depressed.

But how can you measure a baby’s mood?

Aaron Jones said, “They call oxytocin the love hormone. We know that in mothers it’s elevated but what we are specifically looking at in this study is how that changes with the mother’s feeding and touch pattern but also the baby’s.” (Read Full Interview)

Aaron Jones and her lab team take urine samples from mom and baby to measure oxytocin levels. They also monitor changes in the baby’s brain waves with a specially designed EEG cap. So far, Aaron Jones is seeing some interesting results.

“What we specifically found is that mothers who breast feed are bonding and their babies are showing some of the same physiology as mothers who are not depressed,” detailed Aaron Jones.

Zito said it took some time, but she’s enjoying every moment with Zeke, leading to a better bond with baby.

Aaron Jones has enrolled 50 moms and babies in the study and hopes to increase that to 200. She hopes the study will encourage new moms to talk about depression and get the help they need. For more information log onto the CDC’s web site at Https://

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Janna Ross, Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; Judy Reich, Videographer.



TOPIC:       Baby Bonding and The Love Hormone

REPORT:   MB #4198


BACKGROUND: Having a baby can lead to many emotions- joy, happiness and even stress, but one emotion that is not often expected is depression. Postpartum depression is more common than realized; around 10 to 20 percent of women experience this type of depression after giving birth. Baby blues usually can last up to a couple of weeks, but postpartum depression can last up to months with feelings of sadness, hopelessness, loss of pleasure, anxiety, lack of hunger, weight loss, tiredness and difficulty concentrating.

HOW IT AFFECTS THE BABY: Postpartum depression can be treated with therapy, antidepressants or both and it’s important to treat as fast as possible because it can affect the development of the baby. Postpartum depression can impact how the mother cares for the baby which can lead to the baby suffering from social engagement, fear regulation and physiological stress reactivity.

CURRENT STUDY: Child psychologist Nancy Jones is currently in the process of a study which investigates how postpartum depression affects the baby and the bonding with the mother since the physiology, behavior and interactions of a baby can change if the mother is depressed.  Jones and her team take urine samples from both the mom and the baby to measure oxytocin levels, also known as the love hormone. They also monitor changes in the baby’s brain waves with an EEG cap. The study has found that if depressed mothers interact with their babies, by breast feeding for example, the baby will show the same physiology as having a mother who is not depressed since they are still bonding and interacting. Fifty moms and babies are currently enrolled in the study and Jones hopes to increase the number to 200. She hopes the study will encourage moms to talk about depression and get the help they need.
(Source: Nancy Jones)


Gisele Galoustian

Media Relations


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Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Nancy Aaron Jones, Ph.D.

Read the entire Q&A