For Moms, Smell of Newborns Is Like a Drug
Study shows that mothers' brains light up with pleasure at the scent
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2013 6:23 PM CDT

(Newser) – The smell of a newborn isn't just a pleasant sensation for moms—it might be closer to an addiction, a new study suggests. Montreal researchers found that when women who had given birth recently smelled an infants' pajamas, their brains' reward circuits lit up, reports LiveScience. The dopamine surge that resulted was similar to that experienced by someone satisfying a craving for drugs, or a hungry person digging into a meal. "This circuit makes us desire certain foods and causes addiction to tobacco and other drugs," one of the University of Montreal researcher explains via the CBC.

It's not clear whether moms undergo some kind of hormonal change during childbirth that causes the reaction, but their "reward" response was far more pronounced than that of women who had never given birth, reports the Christian Science Monitor. It adds that the study might help explain that age-old line of "I want to eat you up" spoken to many a baby. Think of it as "a carefully concocted perfume of biological manipulation, evolved to trigger maternal bonding," says a blog post at Smithsonian. (Another odd olfactory surprise turned up recently, one that sheds light on why corked wine smells so bad.)

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Sep 28, 2013 11:24 AM CDT
Seriously, before they publish "conclusions" like this they should do real research. I don't see where they checked the fathers reactions. My brother and sister-in-law had a difficult marriage, and after she begged him to have "10 kids" with her, even in front of us and their friends, she became pregnant and immediately hated it. After their boy was born she did as little care as possible. My brother even had to mix a litre of formula each morning before he left for work because she pretended she couldn't figure out how to add powder and water together. My bro was definitely primary caregiver, and he often told me how much he enjoyed getting up in the middle of the night to put the baby back to sleep, because he loved holding him and mentioned the baby-powder/baby smell was so comforting, Raul never minded missing his own sleep to sing Filipe back to sleep. He told me when he did the laundry he could smell it on the baby's clothes. Very bogus "research". Any parent who really loves their child and closely cares for them will, of course, enjoy everything about the baby...
Sep 28, 2013 9:07 AM CDT
I love the smell of diesel in the morning
Sep 25, 2013 10:02 PM CDT
For Dads, the smell of a clean vagina is like a drug.