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Feminists Support Attachment Parenting



A study found that women who identified as feminists were more likely to support attachment parenting principles. This is a bit counterintuitive and very reassuring.

As we learn more about how the oxytocin response -- the ability to connect, trust and love -- develops in the first few years of life in response to mothering, some of us wonder whether you can do a good enough job of mothering while having a career and/or independent, fulfilled life outside the home.

As reported by Holly Rossi in Parents Magazine blogs,

The study [by Miriam Liss and Mindy J. Erchull] asked mothers and non-mothers–who either did or did not identify themselves as feminists–to rate their level of support of a number of parenting principles, including the length of time children should be breastfed (from not at all to more than 18 months), whether mothers should carry their children in slings or arms as often as possible, and whether parents should co-sleep with their children.

Interestingly, while feminists in general tended to support attachment parenting principles, individual respondents thought that they were probably in the minority for doing so.

By the way, you don't have to spend 24 hours a day with your baby to create solid attachment. For more, read Good-Enough Attachment Parenting.

PHOTO: DerPlau

Elvis: The King of Oxytocin

5255904360_3f942aa811Need an oxytocin rush? Let Elvis Presley get those juices flowing.

Williams Syndrome is a genetic disorder characterized by medical problems and developmental disabilities, on the downside, as well as striking verbal abilities, highly social personalities and an affinity for music, according to the Williams Syndrome Association.

In a study of 21 people, 13 with Williams Syndrome (WS) and a control, led by Julie R. Korenberg, Ph.D., M.D., University of Utah/USTAR professor, Circuits of the Brain and pediatrics, the people with WS had three times as much oxytocin circulating in their blood as the control group. (Thus, the highly social aspect of the syndrome.)

The researchers drew additional blood several times during the experiment, to measure changes in levels of oxytocin and vasopressin as the participants listened to music. One participant was asked to listen to Elvis' "Love Me Tender." The others listened to tunes of their choice.

According to the University of Utah,

The analyses showed that the oxytocin levels, and to a lesser degree AVP, had not only increased but begun to bounce among WS participants while among those without WS, both the oxytocin and AVP levels remained largely unchanged as they listened to music. Interestingly, the oxytocin level in the woman who’d listened to “Love Me Tender” skyrocketed compared to the levels of participants who listened to different music.

Elvis is the king of that swarmy, dreamy feeling, and evidently, that feeling comes from oxytocin.

I'd bet that neurotypical folks would show a similar increase in oxytocin when listening to Elvis Presley -- or other emotionally stirring music, albeit not such a marked increase. To me, this study validates another of those oxytocin memes that just make intuitive sense, that music that delights us would elevate our oxytocin levels.

Illustration: Luiz Fernando/Sonia Maria