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This is why babies smell so good...

Publish Date
Monday, 21 August 2017, 9:40AM

A scientific study has shed some light into a phenomenon everyone can agree with: babies smell really good.

Like so, so good.

The reason, researchers have found, is very much a matter of survival.

Physician Johannes Frasnelli, an anatomy professor at the University of Quebec, says a baby's smell is a biological trick the baby comes equipped with in order to increase the chances of survival.

"As anyone with a baby knows, newborns are not too much fun to be around. They sleep, eat, and make you change the diapers. Still, most if not all parents say that having a baby is one of the greatest experiences," he said, quoted by New York magazine.

"So, of course, there must be mechanisms which allow for a very strong bond between parents, especially mothers, and the baby. We think that the odour of babies is involved in one of these mechanisms."

"In fact," he adds, "many people, mainly parents, will say that the baby odour is one of the most pleasant/best odours they have ever smelled."

Frasnelli has conducted a study, published in Frontiers in Psychology, that found that women's brains were indeed mesmerised by that distinctive baby smell.

"Body odours from 2-day-old newborns elicit activation in reward-related cerebral areas in women," the study found.

Science has not been able to explain exactly causes the baby smell. Theories include the baby's sweat glands or even the lingering scent of vernix caseosa, the substance that covers the baby's skin when they are born.

The researchers also found that the bonding via the sense of smell goes both ways.

Babies have shown to be able to distinguish their mother's breast milk from another person's breast milk by smell and also tend to prefer the smell of their mothers' clothes.

 

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission.