Primal Love: The Science Behind Baby Sniffing

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Call me crazy but I love to smell my baby. Literally, stick my nose to her head and inhale deeply. Then kiss profusely.

I am not joking, I do this 20-30 times a day. Every time I pick her up or snuggle her. I don’t know what it ‘smells like’, it just smells like her. She is 4 months old and I still do this all the time. Apparently, I am not alone in this ritual of baby sniffing.

According to this article from,  sniffing a baby triggers receptors in the brain that stimulates the same neural pathways  and reward centers as intoxicating behaviors including sex and drug use. Apparently I am catching a love buzz from my baby. But researchers are still stumped by this dopamine surge. It occurrs in non-mothers when they sniffed the ‘new baby smell’ too. The difference was that the dopamine reaction was stronger in mothers than non-mothers.

One theory is that the smell creates a stronger bond for mothers and their newborns. We know all kinds of strange things happen as new mothers. Breastfeeding (once we get the hang of it) feels wonderful in a very natural and non-sexual way. Our hearts expand so big over the love for these little miracles that it should probably burst.

And in full disclosure, I also really love the smell of breastfed baby poop. I know….WTF? Your thinking I have lost my mind or am some sicko, but it smells like yogurt or buttermilk, and I love it. I don’t start asking my husband to change diapers until the baby starts solid food. I know, that’s pretty evil 😉 (Any mom reading this knows exactly what  am talking about with the solid food – Haha!).

8 thoughts on “Primal Love: The Science Behind Baby Sniffing

  1. lifetastesbetteronabudget says:

    This cracked me up lol. My daughter is 2 and I still sniff her head all the time. Is there a dopamine release for toddler sniffing too? Haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mrsmotherdirt says:

      😊 Its an amazing feeling. Everything I thought I never wanted (eg: to get married or have children) are actually the things that have brought me the most joy. Thank you for taking the time to comment.


  2. Caitlin says:

    I still huff my almost-two year-old’s head every day. Sometimes it’s sweaty or smells like a puppy, but I still love it. And I remember the new poop smell in the NICU during the first two weeks and talking with my partner about how much we liked the sweet smell, haha.


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