If you’re a mom or have ever been around a newborn baby you know there is a distinct new baby smell that just brings all sorts of happy and joy. And while you think it might just be you that feels that way, think again. There is an actual scientific reason for these feelings and thanks to a recent study, Experts Say, Smell of Newborn Babies Triggers Memory and Motivation for Moms. Awesome, right?
Experts Say, Smell of Newborn Babies Triggers Memory and Motivation for Moms
GET READY TO SMELL ALL THE BABIES!
Not really, you might seem like a creep but if you are planning to be around a baby any time soon, you might want to know that it is actually good for you.
According to a research study in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, experts found that the smell of newborn babies actually triggers the same rewards in the brain as other things such as doing drugs. No, we aren’t saying to do drugs, but those feelings of reward, motivation, memory, and attention you get from such actions comes from Dopamine. This is also triggered when you smell a new baby!
Researchers recruited 30 women for their study. 15 women recently gave birth and 15 did not have any children. They asked the women to try and identify various mystery scents, which included the smell of a newborn, taken from a baby’s pajamas. While the women sniffed, the experts watched their brain activity via fMRI.
“”What we have shown for the first time is that the odor of newborns, which is part of these signals, activates the neurological reward circuit in mothers,” Frasnelli said in a statement. “These circuits may especially be activated when you eat while being very hungry, but also in a craving addict receiving his drug. It is in fact the sating of desire.” (Source)
While there is a lot more scientific research that went into the study, the conclusion was:
In conclusion, the scent of a newborn infant is able to elicit increased responses in the brain’s neostriatal areas within women that in previous studies have been closely linked with reward learning mechanisms (Source). These findings tentatively suggest a potential reward mechanism by which bonding serves to elicit maternal motivational and emotional responses. A direct and strong causal link between biological reward and the findings presented in this experiment remains to be demonstrated in future experiments that directly and experimentally varying the degree of biological reward by means of food odors or other ecologically salient odors. These findings add to a growing literature that suggests that cues embedded within the complex mixture of body odors may be responsible for eliciting and/or supporting psychobiological processes. (Source)
Basically, moms feel that reward system from the smell of newborn babies, often their own. So, the next time you want to hold your baby tight and enjoy their smell, do it. It’s good for you and will make you have all the feels!