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March 2011
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May 2011

Oxytocin Project: Women in a State of Collaboration

The Oxytocin Project, launched by, aims to inspire women around the world to connect and collaborate. Founder Ellie Drake talks about oxytocin as a spiritual state.

According to the press release, "Drake’s goal is to teach women to live in a state of Oxytocin which enables women to be more creative, powerful and successful. ... To succeed, women need to feel safe, to maintain a state of calmness and security, and to follow their inner nature that promotes a ‘tend and befriend’ approach to collaboration. In other words, they need to be in a state of Oxytocin ..."

It may not be a scientifically accurate message -- oxytocin ebbs and flows throughout the day, and the feeling of connection seems to be triggered by changes in oxytocin levels in the brain.

Nevertheless, it's an emotionally resonant message, and I am all for Drake's efforts to get women to recognize that our strenghts may be different from men's and as valuable.

Support for Grieving Pet Owners

What animal lovers know: Losing a pet can be like losing a member of the family.

For example, a cat that comes into a young family may still be there when the kids go off to college.

In addition, "It could be that animals bring out untapped resources in ourselves that we don't use as much as when we are spending time solely with most humans. These are resources are essential to our overall well-being and bring us to our core," writes Lorrie Shaw of in this thoughtful article that discusses the oxytocin bond we share with pets, as well as the trend of pet loss support groups.

For people who don't have family or others they're close to, a pet may be the primary social relationship. Yet, when your cat or dog dies, many people can't understand why you're so broken up.

It's good to have groups of people who understand how deep this bond can go.


Should a 5-Year-Old Learn to Breastfeed?

A new doll originating from Spain aims to teach girls how to breastfeed. The doll reacts to sensors in a halter worn by the kid, making sucking and gulping sounds when its mouth comes close to two "nipples."

Evidently this is creating controversy among parents, some of whom find it creepy or ... somehow .. just wrong.

Video on the company's website shows an actual baby sucking at an actual breast -- something usually relegated to the depths of breastfeeding education sites.


Jessica Wakeman of The Frisky said,

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the breastfeeding doll, per se; it just may be a bit too complex of a subject for a child who still watches “Dora The Explorer” and occasionally wets her pants.

Tom Henderson of ParentDish shows just how deep the discomfort with breastfeeding can run. He snarks:

Are you one of these people who find yourself ever-so creeped out by the sight of a woman breast-feeding her baby in public?

Oh, you ain't see nothing yet.

Picture a 7-year-old girl -- or boy, for that matter -- strapping on little flowered falsies so a baby doll can suckle the imaginary breasts -- complete with slurping and gurgling sounds.

When I first read about Breast Milk Baby, I did feel a bit of disturb. I visualized a pair of plastic breasts like those hideous things they sell for Halloween costumes. When I saw the photos, I changed my mind.

The top is simple and girly, with little flowers instead of nipples.

Most of the anti-doll people quoted in news reports say it's making little girls grow up too soon -- even though pretending to do adult things, including feeding a doll with a bottle and playing dressup -- or playing soldier -- is one of the most common ways for kids to play.

I think these folks are really expressing their own over-sexualization of the breast, which is one of the biggest barriers to breastfeeding.