Thermoregulation of Fevers During Babywearing.
Oxytocin is the female homone frequently called the love hormone; responsible for ovulation, the positive action of birth, upregulation of lactation, and the reason that Momma makes it all better. Oxytocin has a direct action on the brain and as been shown to facilitate attachment and engender an emotional sense of safety. Oxytocin doesn’t stop acting there. Also seen to have action on autonomic nervous system in the vagal pathway, the effects on body temperature, blood pressure, and anxiety have been well documented. Oxytocin can be released from and absorbed through the skin by light touch, light pressure, and warm temperature.
Babywearing stimulates light touch of the skin, pressure, and the natural heat of the baby’s body and in turn, all increase oxytocin release in the mother. When the baby has a fever, babywearing will cause an increase in release of oxytocin. The reception of oxytocin from the mother to the infant through skin to skin contact triggers regulation of body temperature as well as a decrease in heart rate due to the relaxation caused by the emotional sense of safety also caused by oxytocin reception. Decreases in heart rate effect a decrease in blood pressure and promotion of the baby’s ability to regulate their body temperature. The effect is amazing but lasts a short time. Within thirty minutes oxytocin begins to break down in the blood plasma. Contined skin to skin contact prolongs the effect but once a break in skin contact occurs the promotion of thermoregulation is once again the effect of the infant physiology alone.
Babywearing should not replace treatments recommended by your healthcare provider but should be used to enhance the treatments and promote safety and comfort in you child while they are unwell. Certain fevers, particularly those higher than 101 degrees Farenheight, may indicate a serious health condition and may require the use of fever reducing medication under the guidance of your healthcare provider.
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Kasahara, Y. et. al. Oxytocin receptor in the Hypothalamus is Sufficient to Resue Normal Thermoregulation Function in Male Oxytocin Receptor Knockout Mice. Endocrinology 2013. November 154(11):4305-4315.
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Urnas-Moberg, K; Handlin, L; Petersson, M. Self-soothing Behaviors with Particular Reference to Oxytocin Release induced by non-noxious Sensory Stimulation. Front. Psychol. 2015. Jan 12: 10.3389
Babywearing, cloth diapering, breastfeeding twin Momma sharing my insights.