A Mother’s Instinct Is Biologically Real And Creates Attachment With Baby by Lori Ennis on April 3, 2019
Australian Lactation Consultant and Gentle Parenting Guru Pinky McKay coined the term “Mummy Margarita” about the cocktail of hormones that a mother begins creating as she’s pregnant, and credits that concoction to a true and biological ‘Mother’s Instinct’ that builds attachment.
Pinky McKay is an Australian lactation consultant who has authored many gentle parenting and breastfeeding books. She’s known worldwide as an advocate for gentle parenting and listening to your baby, and she wants moms everywhere to know that a ‘Mother’s Instinct’ is real and created by our bodies to respond to our babies.
In a Feed Play Love podcast, Mckay says that in pregnancy, our bodies create a ‘Mummy Margarita,’ which is a combination of hormones and an enlarged pituitary gland. The enlarged pituitary gland lasts for as long as six months, and hormones like prolactin and oxytocin are coursing through a mother’s veins in exponentially larger amounts to create attachment with your baby.
McKay says that some researchers call it the ‘motherhood mindset’ or ‘maternal pre-occupation,’ but she says that the intuitive mindset this Mummy Margarita makes is what makes a mother overwhelmingly attached and protective of her little one. And, she says, is the reason that many mothers face such conflict when mothering as their bodies tell them they should but hearing advice like, “Don’t spoil the baby.”
This Mummy Margarita mix is the core of biological attachment parenting–it happens so mothers are chemically ready to respond to their babies’ needs, and while it does slow down over the course of several months after baby is born, it allows time for mothers to come closely attached and to know their babies well enough to be the experts on them when no one else could
Why is knowing about this hormonal mix important? McKay says that the world will offer several mixed messages that might have mothers questioning their parental choices, but when a mother listens to her instinct, she’s doing the right thing for her baby. She says the powerful oxytocin/prolactin cocktail makes mothers responsive to their children, and act almost as inbuilt GPS systems to lead us into making the best decisions for our babies.
And, McKay says that though some mothers don’t feel they can trust their hormone-driven instincts, or are confused by the bombarding of parenting advice at every turn, they can look to trusted organizations and mentors to gently build their confidence. McKay advocates for La Leche and breastfeeding organizations as great places to start as they can encourage and reassure your mothering instincts in gentle and best-for-baby ways.
Her strongest advice to mothers when making parenting decisions is to ask if it is safe, if it is respectful, and does it feel right for mother and baby. Asking those questions, she says, will reach into our mother’s intuition powerfully, and be individually purposed for our little ones.
This was published in Mothering Magazine here