Science has finally confirmed what moms have been saying forever –– that newborn baby smell is intoxicating.
A new paper published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology found that women sniffing newborn babies exhibit the same type of brain activity as when satisfying drug and sex addictions.
While all of the women experienced similar reactions, mothers studied reacted much stronger than non-mothers. In fact, the mothers experienced a brain reaction after smelling the newborn scent that is akin to what we usually feel after eating a nice, big meal.
During the study, 30 women (15 mothers and 15 non-mothers) were monitored by fMRI while smelling a variety of objects. Although the women struggled to identify the newborn baby scent, their brains told a different story. All of the women's brains showed activation of the area of the reward center of the brain. Researchers postulate that this connection is a form of "biological manipulation" that entices women to care for their newborns through a pleasure response, while also aiding in maternal-child bonding.
The study did not examine whether men experience similar brain changes, which makes it harder to suss out whether mothers experience biological changes that make them experience greater rewards from huffing newborns, or if the act of caring for and smelling newborns itself creates the reward connection in the brain.
Either way, those baby toes sure do smell delicious.