Understanding Prolactin and Nesting

by DrJim

In the animal kingdom a variety of hormones affect the behavior of animals and bring about instinctual behaviors. Although humans do not exhibit many instinctual behaviors, these same hormones promote feelings and desires and to some degree behavior as well. The human brain is exceedingly complex with over a hundred types of neurotransmitters recognized as well as a variety of hormones that can influence its function. To enjoy more, visit giftofmilk.com. When these hormones become elevated they enhance the activity of some pathways in the brain, in contrast to alternate pathways, which bring about these behaviors. Estrogen, Progesterone and Prolactin, among other hormones play a role in the most complex species including man, the apes, mammals, birds as well as lower species such as salamanders. The hormone Prolactin promotes feelings and behavior in a woman that is considered very feminine and has been termed “nesting behavior”. This term has been coined as a result of the observation of the role elevated Prolactin plays in birds. Looking at the behavior of birds can give an insight into the feelings women experience from elevated Prolactin.

Consider what happens with a mating pair of birds. In the spring an Estrogen rise in the female causes them to mate. When she has been fertilized her Prolactin level rises. This coincides with the developing eggs within. The rise in Prolactin stimulates her “nesting behavior”. More great articles at giftofmilk.com She seeks for a place to build a nest. The male helps her to find one, but she has the final say on the site. She wants a “home” to settle down. When they find a site that is suitable to her, they proceed to build a nest. The male bird supports her in this endeavor bringing her twigs and items to work into the nest structure. She builds it up, fitting it to her body. Finally she plucks some downy feathers from her breast to give the nest a soft comfortable lining. Once she lays the eggs she much prefers to sit on the nest very domestically rather than flying about foraging for food. Click here, giftofmilk.com. The male bird will often take turns with the female sitting on the eggs and give her a chance to get something to eat. Finally, when the eggs hatch into little younglings, she has the urge to feed them. Birds do not have teeth, they grind their food by swallowing little stones that go down into their crop, a muscular sack that churns the food with the stones. Birds are not mammals and do not produce milk but they do something equivalent. Elevated Prolactin causes their crop to produce a substance that mixes with the food making it a special nutritious meal for their younglings. Birds of course, regurgitate some food up from their crop to feed them, the equivalent of mammalian breastfeeding.

Women have some Prolactin release all the time resulting in some mild nesting behavior which is part of their feminine nature. As with birds, Estrogen gives women an interest in mating. When a woman is pregnant her Prolactin becomes moderately elevated. She begins to have stronger nesting feelings and usually puts effort into creating a special place for the baby to come and becomes home focused and domesticated. When she enters the post-partum time after delivering her baby, she experiences a high Prolactin level. Her milk comes in about the third day. Click here, visit Gift of Milk for more. She usually experiences the strongest nesting feelings and desires. She wants to stay in bed more and cuddle with her infant and husband. She enjoys skin-to-skin contact, which is good for the infant as well. She feels more sleepy and mellow in her mood. She has feelings of contentment. She has strong nurturing desires toward her infant wanting to breastfeed and have her nipples suckled. Prolactin is responsible for the breasts filling with milk and also the urge or desire to have that milk taken by a hungry, grateful soul. I think the urge to breastfeed when breasts have milk in them is similar somewhat to the desire to have sex when one becomes sexually aroused. If all goes well, she bonds with her infant with a strong emotional attachment. To learn more, click here. Oxytocin influence overlaps quite a bit in its influence on her feelings and behavior. Prolactin elevation in combination with lowered Estrogen causes her to become more “breast centered” sexually. She may experience a moderate loss of interest in vaginal sex. Husbands often don’t like this. If she does not want to go out of the house much, is mellow in her mood and wants to cuddle and not have “sex” she may be considered depressed (often wrongly so). Many of the behaviors birds show, women experience somewhat in their feelings and desires.

Interestingly, the class of drugs called the “major tranquilizers” including Thorazine and many others, work in the brain to lower Dopamine activity. The result of this is that Prolactin is increased and many other effects occur. These drugs are used to help calm the patient, anti-anxiety effect, sedate or induce sleep and promote clarity of thought. For more articles like this, visit giftofmilk.com. They are used for patients who are psychotic or out of touch with reality quite a bit. There is a bit of overlap in the effect of Prolactin and these drugs, just a bit. Most herbs and drugs that are sedating probably increase Prolactin and promote lactation. Women in their post-partum period tend to feel calm and content and very home focused. You could say that Prolactin is an excellent anti-anxiety drug! I had a patient who was on this class of drugs and her boyfriend paid attention to her breasts with their sexual encounters and she began lactating, which he liked quite a bit, and she didn’t mind. I am not advising the use of these drugs to promote lactation, however they give insight into Prolactin activity.

Throughout the years that a woman regularly ovulates she experiences intermittent mild elevations of Prolactin primarily before menses. This is in addition to the experience of being pregnant and post-partum as discussed above. I believe this promotes feminine behavior that is more non specific and attractive to most men. Here are some examples; When a young couple marry and look for a house inevitably she has the final say in choice of the place, he could live anywhere, in a box if necessary, she must have a place suitable to make a home. Click here to see more. When they move in she must decorate it just right, turning it from a house into a home. To some degree the female desire to make herself attractive and desirable; “Honey do you like my hair, my dress?” is an expression of Prolactin for she wants to be a nest herself and for him to be there with her. In bed she is a nest again wanting him to be happiest with her. A mother’s unconditional love, the hugging to the breast is certainly generated by feelings that are colored by Prolactin. I believe Prolactin is a wonderful hormone that promotes the most feminine behavior, which men crave, and love.

Understanding how Prolactin influences a woman’s feelings and desires helps to explain some of the attractions and motivations that a couple have toward sharing in an adult nursing relationship. If both partners enjoy her breasts it is more likely that they will enjoy an ANR. A study was done a few years ago that found women who are in a relationship and are active and happy sexually have higher average levels of Prolactin than single women. Click to see more from giftofmilk.com Sex and breast play of course elevates Prolactin. Higher levels of Prolactin also tend to cause the breasts to enlarge a little because the alveoli stay more developed. In a couple’s sexual relationship, if he loves her breasts and pays attention to them and she enjoys it, she is likely to have increased nesting feelings and further interest in his attention to her breasts. If they participate in an ANR she will have strong feelings in wanting him to suckle. Men are driven by sight and touch whereas women are driven by feelings and emotions. There is nothing quite like having the woman you love look you in the eye earnestly with the desire that you suckle her breasts. For him, the uncovering of the breast, the fondling, the oral pleasures, for her, the feelings of letdown, the satisfying of the need to give her milk, the emotional intimacy. I believe most men find the situation of a woman desiring him to suckle her breasts captivating and irresistible. View more, giftofmilk.com. Prolactin promotes feelings that are best experienced and satisfied in the setting of a relationship. I have heard quite a few women say that they would be interested in an ANR so they induced themselves in anticipation of finding a relationship later to share this experience. Inducing without a partner however causes many to have more intense unfulfilled feelings of loneliness and longing for a partner.

Not all women like the way they feel when their Prolactin is elevated. If a woman has had a child and enjoyed being pregnant and breastfeeding she is much more likely to feel positively about trying an ANR. Women who are in business, competing in a man’s world or professionals who are career driven are more likely to not want to feel “domestic”. For more articles like this, click here. They are more likely to put the infant to the bottle from the start and place the infant in the care of another person. They are not likely to want this type of relationship. They may feel large breasts are a nuisance or a real handicap. The post-partum depression that some women experience is caused by the Estrogen withdrawal not the elevated Progesterone. In most cases it is of short duration but again it can cause a woman to feel negative about an ANR. Women generally do not experience “post-partum depression” when they induce for an ANR because there is not a sudden Estrogen withdrawal.

I believe many of the questions that are asked about “What is it like to have an adult nursing relationship?” can be There’s more to see, click here. answered or at least given an insight by understanding how Prolactin influences a woman’s feelings and behavior. It is the most important hormone to understand.


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