Lactation Education Resources Blog
Ducks are mammals?
Well no, after ducklings hatch from their shells, they usually don’t eat for the first 24 hours, and then they start on small pieces of food and sips of water. But as we see from this charming video of a mother cat turned mother to ducklings and kittens, unusual things can happen.
That oxytocin circulating right after birth is certainly powerful for bonding for both mothers and their off-spring. Those newly hatched ducklings arrived just at the peak of the mother cat’s post-partum oxytocin surge. Lucky for them, she took them “under her wing”, kept them warm and even offered them the only food she had, mother’s (cats) milk. Oxytocin lives up to its nickname, “the mother love hormone”!
Successful reproduction in mammals demands that mothers become attached to and nourish their offspring immediately after birth. It is also important that non-lactating females do not manifest such nurturing behavior. The same events that affect the uterus and mammary gland at the time of birth also affect the brain. During parturition, there is an increase in concentration of oxytocin in cerebrospinal fluid, and oxytocin acting within the brain plays a major role in establishing maternal behavior.
It may be best to view oxytocin as a major facilitator of parturition and maternal behavior rather than a necessary component of these processes.