If you’ve ever held a newborn baby, here’s why you could not resist having a sniff of its head
There’s something irresistible about the smell of a newborn baby’s head, and if you’ve ever held one you’ve probably not been been able to stop yourself from having a sniff.
But is that olfactory appeal just in our heads or is there a reason behind it?
In a world of smelly commutes , pungent cleaning products , sweat, perfume and stress perhaps it’s no wonder that whatever we do as adults to eliminate odors, there’s something simple and lovely about how a newborn smells.
In fact, there is a very good reason as to why women in particular find this smell appealing, and it’s all to do with our neurotransmitters.
Also known as the chemical messengers, our neurotransmitters relay information through our brains and bodies – we’d be dead without them.
Among other vital functions, they tell our heart to beat and our lungs to breathe in and out.
But what does this have to do with women and how baby’s smell?
According to a study published in Frontiers of Psychology , both mothers and women who do not have children experience a rush of dopamine.
Dopamine neurons are also known as the ‘feel-good’, ‘reward’ neurotransmitters because they are activated when something good happens unexpectedly.
We experience a dopamine rush when we smell food we like, or when we think of someone we love.
Its release in our brains is subconscious way of telling ourselves we want to repeat what acted as a catalyst for the rush
But although the dopamine rush was experienced by all the women, it was stronger in the mothers in the group.
The study went on to suggest what this might mean for mother-baby relationships, saying:
“These tentative data suggests that certain body odors might act as a catalyst for bonding mechanisms and highlights the need for future research on odor-dependent mother-infant bonding using parametric designs controlling for biological saliency and general odor perception effects.”