Newborn odor and maternal-infant bonding

Using fMRI, investigators measured the brain responses of women when exposed to newborn infants’ body odors. The newborn odors were presented to the women using cotton undershirts worn by newborn infants for the first two days after birth. The odors elicited activation of reward-related cerebral (neostriate) areas in both primiparous and nulliparous women. Certain odors may act as a catalyst for maternal-infant bonding.

Maternal status regulates cortical responses to the body odor of newborns. Lundstrom et al, 2013