If you thought the smell of newborn was casting some kind of adorable, addictive spell on you, you’d be 100 percent correct!
We’ve turned to science-y types to discover just how babies weave this clever magic on us – and why!
Something smells delicious!
What even IS that delicious infant smell that magically disappears around the 6 week mark? It’s thought to be a mixture of 100 percent pure baby, left-over amniotic fluid and a little bit of baby-protecting vernix, that makes newborns smell so good. But not only does this magical mixture smell lovely, it’s doing magical things to mum’s brains..!
Bottling 'New Baby'
A research team cleverly captured the ‘essence of newborn’, taking t-shirts babies had worn for a couple of days and freezing them in plastic bags to preserve the adorable baby fragrance. This marked stage one of unravelling the mystery of new baby smell. Researchers then rounded up a bunch of women – half were new mothers and half were not. They wanted the women to smell the baby tees, so they could measure just what happened in their brains.
And here’s what happened: when the women smelled that newborn scent, the brain’s pleasure centres – and a quite addictive dopamine (aka the feel-good hormone) rush – was sparked in ALL the women, with the new mums reacting the most.
“The fact that the pleasure centers are activated makes it more rewarding at a time when parenthood is very intensive and depleting. Our little receptors are lighting up and we have good feelings to offset all the hard work and exhaustion,” author and psychologist Diane Sanford explains. (You can snaffle her book, Life Will Never Be the Same: The Real Mom’s Postpartum Survival Guide if you’d like to read more of her thoughts.)
Some experts say new baby smell activates these pleasure centres and happy feels for good reason. This chemical response is thought to be designed to offset the exhaustion and the hard work of parenting, from the inside, out!
Drink it in!
So the official science-y verdict is IN. Not only does that new baby smell weave some special chemical magic on your brain, the magic helps you love your baby a little bit more (if that is even possible!)