Prolactin and oxytocin are the two major hormones involved in breastfeeding and have amazing effects on your body as well as your psyche. High levels of prolactin stimulate the breast to produce milk. When breastfeeding exclusively, the high levels of prolactin suppress ovulation and help provide contraception, especially during the first several months.
Oxytocin is the hormone which causes contractions of breast tissue to help expel breast milk. There have been numerous studies both in pregnant and non-pregnant patients which have demonstrated some very beneficial emotional, psychological, and physical effects. In fact, oxytocin has been tagged “The Cuddle Hormone”. It has been shown to enhance trust, cooperation and social and emotional closeness. In some studies it has shown to have a positive effect on sleep. Oxytocin has also been shown to increase metabolism, burn fat and help regulate appetite. It is no wonder that patients who breast feed often find it easier to lose weight and experience an enhanced sense of bonding with both their baby and family.