Mums hooked on baby smiles

Seeing their baby smile can trigger a natural high in a mother’s brain similar to that delivered by drugs or alcohol, new research has found.

Seeing their baby smile can trigger a natural high in a mother’s brain similar to that delivered by drugs or alcohol, new research has found.

According to The Australian, scientists at the Texas Children’s Hospital showed 28 new mothers pictures of their baby while hooked up to a magnetic resonance imaging scanner.

When shown pictures of their baby smiling, blood rushed to the pleasure centres of the mums’ brains. The happier the baby, the stronger the mother’s response.

According to Lane Strathearn, the researcher who conducted the study, the areas of the brain stimulated – the substantia nigra, striatum and frontal lobe – are also those that respond to alcohol and other drugs.

“These are areas that have been activated in other experiments associated with drug addiction,” Strathearn says. “It may be that seeing your own baby’s smiling face is like a natural high.”

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