Smell Strengthens the Bond Between Mother and Child-Part 2

Mother distinguishes her own child's smell

When the baby is about five days old, the mother's milk begins to flow more actively, and the baby begins to master the art of sucking the nipple. The baby begins to touch the mother's breasts with his/her hands, listens to the mother's soft whispers, gazes into the mother's eyes, and about this time, develops a sense of smell, allowing him/her to recognize his/her mother's smell...all allowing the baby to think of the mother as someone of his/her own.

Needless to say, the mother's sense of smell is also fully developed. Thus, with only the exception, the mother is able to distinguish her own baby's smell and think of it as something soothing and loving.

There are a few exceptions, where the mother cannot bond with her newborn and cannot feel any inkling of love or affection toward him/her. In these instances, the mother may think, "My child smells funny, I can't adapt to this smell."

It seems that when we place puppies near female dogs that have had no experience of delivery, they tend to kick the puppies and kick dirt on them because they do not like the "smell" of the puppy, and they will not make the puppies come closer. There has been some research that when we somehow numb the sense of smell of the female dog, she is able to care for the puppy, and after a little time, her maternal instincts are triggered.

Mother and Child Affect Each Other.

When we refer to these behavioral experiments, we find that female animals that have had experience with birthing has a stronger hormonal nature and after birth, the effects of factors other than hormones become stronger. Factors other than the hormones related to birth influence touch, voice, sight, and also smell.

When we think about it, the bond between mother and child go through many steps and through many interactions, influence each other, building upon each step to build that special bond. The smell of the mother (i.e. bodily odors and breast milk) is most likely rubbed into the heart of the child and the child is eventually able to acknowledge his/her mother as truly his/her own. And in return, the child's bodily odors (i.e. the very milky scent of the baby), whether the mother acknowledges those smells or not, is something that definitely contributes to the maternal instinct.

Kobayashi, Noboru (1981). "Nioi mo haha to ko no kizuna wo tuyokusuru - 2"(written in Japanese). Tokyo: Child Research Net. Retrieved June 1, 2002, from the World Wide Web:
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