Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Breast-feeding and plasma oxytocin concentrations.

Br Med J 1980; 281 doi: (Published 27 September 1980) Cite this as: Br Med J 1980;281:834
  1. A Lucas,
  2. R B Drewett,
  3. M D Mitchell


    The patterns of response of oxytocin to a breast feed were studied in 10 mothers in the first week post partum. The initiation of lactation did not appear to be related to release of oxytocin. In established lactation an oxytocin response did not appear to be essential for adequate milk flow and did not occur always at the time of peak milk flow. The only factor identified that positively correlated with release of oxytocin was multiparity. In those subjects who showed a response the hormone was released in surges, some of which persisted in the circulation for less than one minute. These findings cast some doubt on the conventional view that release of oxytocin is essential for satisfactory milk flow during breast-feeding.