Newborn body odor may contribute to building maternal-child relationships

Posted on November 22, 2013

Body odor conveys a wide variety of cues about gender, age, family, stress, and disease states. Body odors are also believed to direct mating and bonding between individuals. Now, a new study finds that newborn body odor may contribute to building maternal-child relationships.

For a mother, the smell of a newborn baby — not even her own, according to this study — provides a dose of dopamine and fills her with feelings of positivity and well-being, which acts as a reward for cuddling and snuggling the baby. Likely, this maternal physiological response aids in sealing a bond with her child. A mother craves the reward associated with being close to her baby and this motivates her attitude and behavior toward her newborn.

The response is similar to the dopaminergic rewards that are active when addicts take drugs or hungry people eat food. An activity that satisfies a craving has the potential to activate the brain’s reward centers, and, therefore, some researchers have claimed that mothers may be, in a sense, addicted to their babies.

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Category(s):Child Development, Parenting

Source material from Brain Blogger

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