Mother and baby

A whiff of maternal love

Liudmila Sundikova/Getty Images

Babies are reassured by the presence of their mother’s scent, according to research that looked at how their brains respond to fear.

The idea that a familiar scent can soothe infants isn’t a new one. “Some midwives tell new mums to put a worn T-shirt or scarf in the crib with their baby,” says Sarah Jessen at the University of Lübeck in Germany.

To investigate whether this works, Jessen presented photos of happy and fearful facial expressions to 7-month-old babies – she says this is the age by which …



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