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Ever wonder why we’re inclined to say things like, “I could just eat him up!” or “I just want to eat her face!” when a particularly adorable baby comes into view? Personally, I am still guilty of nibbling on my son’s toes, and he’s almost three. Truth is, he still has a tiny bit of that delightful baby smell that makes us hold them so tight. Babies smell delicious — it’s a scientific fact!

University of Montreal postdoctoral researcher Johannes Frasnelli decided to look into our toe-munching urges. Frasnelli took a bunch of onesies (no mention of how ironic/cute they were) and had some babies scent those onesies up. After these randomly selected, non-special two-day-old newborns had excreted their baby pheromones (my words) all over the onesies, a group of women — both mothers and the childfree uterati — were invited to sniff the onesies while in an MRI machine. Fun, right?

The results: In all women they observed activation in the reward centre of the brain. This activation was higher in women who had given birth, but actually present in both groups. The new-baby smell activates the brain’s ‘reward circuit’ in much the same way that a very hungry person who is finally given food experiences — or a drug user who gets a fix.

That’s right: put a new baby in the room and the part of our brain that’s preoccupied with pleasure and instant gratification lights up like a TV on Sunday.

Important point: Frasnelli adds that if you feel like you want to actually eat the baby it’s because you have a physical body that’s responding to the genetic calling that surfaces when offspring is vulnerable — and requires absolute devotion.

In other words, DON’T EAT THE BABY! Just love them, like crazy.

source: NPR


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