Scientists at the Baylor College of Medicine say that “seeing your own child smile actually activates the pleasure receptors in the brain typically associated with food, sex—and drug addiction,” reports MSNBC.
Pass the baby. I need a hit.
Scientists studied the brain reactions of twenty-eight new mothers and found that “the sight of their own happy babies sent blood rushing to the moms’ brain regions associated with dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in addiction.”
Scientists believe that spike rewarded mothers with a “neural kick” that made them want to take care of their babies.
I remember when my son, a colicky premie, finally smiled at eleven weeks. I’d felt like I’d been sending messages out to the universe for decades and finally heard something back. I was ecstatic. Turns out, there’s a scientific reason behind it. You know, besides the end of colicky misery.
But scientists were surprised to find that the mothers responded the same to neutral or crying babies. Says MSNBC: “Although it’s not exactly clear, that could mean that mothers are wired to react to all crying babies, not just their own.”
I know that the sound of a crying newborn makes my head feel like it’s going to implode, but after two babies with colic, I’m a little shellshocked.
One mom interviewed for the article admitted that she’s pretty much addicted to her baby’s smiles. “‘Does it feel like a high? Oh, yeah,’ said Lyons, who surrounds herself with photos of her boys. ‘It’s got to be like crack. I just have to see them everywhere.’”
Having a bad day? Score yourself some baby smiles, and you’ll feel much better.
Original article on MSNBC.