This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 21 August, 2019

Research finds women do actually want to gobble up babies

If you can get over the fact that they collected odours from the pyjamas of newborns, there are some interesting findings.

Image: baby image via Shutterstock

NEW RESEARCH HAS pointed to why women say they could “gobble up” a baby – they smell good enough to eat.

The research, conducted by scientists in Montreal, Canada, found that there are chemical signals for communication between a mother and her child.

The odour of newborns, which is part of these signals, activates a reward circuit in the mother’s brain. These circuits are especially activated when a person eats while being very hungry but also in a craving addict  receiving their drug.

Researcher at the University of Montreal, Johannes Frasnelli said it is “in fact, the sating of desire”.

It appears this connection is stronger in women who are mothers themselves, though all women are susceptible to new baby odour, the research found.

Two groups of women were presented with odours of others’ newborns and were subjected to brain imaging tests.

The odours of the newborns were collected from their pyjamas two days after birth, which we’re willing to admit sounds a bit strange, but it’s all in the name of science.

Although the women in both groups perceived the odour of newborns with the same intensity, brain imaging showed greater activation in the circuits of mothers compared to the women who had never given birth.

“This circuit makes us desire certain foods and causes addiction to tobacco and other drugs,” said the researcher. “Not all odours trigger this reaction. Only those associated with reward, such as food or satisfying a desire, cause this activation.”

For the research team, these results show that the odour of newborns undoubtedly plays a role in the development of motivational and emotional responses between mother and child by eliciting maternal care functions such as breastfeeding and protection.

Researchers said there are still questions about whether the reaction of mothers is a result of a change related to childbirth or if it is specific to mothers as men were not part of the experiment.

Read: Here’s why flies can avoid being swatted and a T-rex might not see you sneak by>

Read: 16% of people will find this image disgusting — and they won’t know why>

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article

Read next: