Bringing up baby

I still remember holding my kids for the first time. Their eyes still closed, trying hard to open them and so light in your arms.

I can’t remember anything as sweet as the smell of a newborn baby. Not even a new book compares to the aroma of a new born. Is there a scientific theory why their smell is so exhilarating? I’m guessing that it has something to do with bonding. Since man walked the earth babies had to make sure that their parents would begin loving them from the time they were born to immediately provide for them until they could provide for themselves.

Like flowers emitting favorable smell to attract birds or bees, I wonder if babies attract parents with their newborn smell. A newborn may be smarter than we think; especially after millions of years of evolution.

According to Frontiers in Psychology, “If you’ve ever thought about consuming your baby, don’t feel bad, it’s totally normal. A study published this month suggests that the smell of babies triggers the brain’s reward centers, which are also activated by certain foods.”

Fresh baby smell was extracted from the pajamas of brand new infants and presented to two groups of women.

As explained by the Christian Science Monitor, “Mothers and non-mothers responded similarly to the smell of newborns.The smells were shown to activate the reward circuits in women’s brains,” according to the CS Monitor.

A University of Montreal study Johannes Frasnelli said, “Not all odors trigger this reaction. Only those associated with reward, such as food or satisfying a desire, cause this activation.”
My theory was based on my own experience. I had no idea it had been studied, but of course, why wouldn’t it.

Linda and I got the best of childbirth experience – at least that’s what I say. Our three children were born at home. Tended to by midwives and extensive prenatal care, our babies came out fat and healthy. Linda insisted on having our babies at home.

We visited hospitals and the new birthing rooms; all the rage at the time and Linda saying, “It’s not for me.”

Our friends had just had a homebirth and everything turned out fine. The oldest is an actress in Australia today. We have never heard a horror story about doing such a thing, but we do hear a gasp sometimes when we tell the story.

When our second child, Tyler, was born, Marly, our first born was sleeping until our midwife was cleaning up Tyler – cleaning his little ears and nose with a blue suction ball. As my sister carried Marly into the room, she cried out, “No fair, he was born with his own toy.”

Maybe fathers fall in love with their children more often than not if they are present at the baby’s birth. There’s a sort of love that is unavoidable when you watch your baby being born.

If you don’t believe in miracles, which I typically don’t, just watch or participate in your child being born.

Sometimes I wonder if they don’t have only a great smell but a magic spell that they emit as they are born. A love spell, if you will.

There are times in a kid’s life when he or she will get into that “I hate you stage.” It’s called adolescence. Their tempers will fly and doors will slam and it’s their goal to make you feel miserable.

At those times I always told my kids I loved them. No matter what they did, or do, love is something never lost when you witness their first breath. Never.

It’s not only a mother that gets caught in the web of their child’s love when it’s born; fathers are pulled in as well and live with it their entire life. Linda’s father called her from Kentucky every Sunday night to check on her until the day he died at age 88.

Here’s proof: According to Wynne Edward Berg, Mayo Clinic, “Studies show that fathers who are at their baby’s birth, and hold their little one shortly afterwards, have very similar feelings of attachment to those experienced by mothers for the first few weeks.

“Putting in the time and effort at the start is certainly worth your while. Most research suggests that keeping close during those early months will encourage a good relationship with your child as she gets older. Even talking to your partner’s bump before your little one arrived will have been time well spent, as your newborn baby is supposed to be able to recognize your voice. To look at it in crude business terms, it means that every nappy changed, every cuddle and every game of ‘peekaboo’ is an emotional investment for the future, building trust between you.”


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