Larkin is smiling, laughing, and cooing up a storm right now and I melt nearly every time she does any of them. I am completely smitten with her. How can't you love that smiley face?!
Back in July, the Journal of Pediatrics published the findings from a new study that proves that a baby's smile actually gives the mother a "natural high." Seeing your baby smile actually stimulates the reward centers of the brain by producing a rush of dopamine. A group of first time moms were shown pictures of their babies with a variety of expressions... pictures of their baby frowning or with a neutral expression did not evoke the same brain response as did those of their baby smiling. As the article suggests, mothers do, in a sense, become "addicted" to their babies. Therefore, this research is being used to help understand the maternal-baby bond that forms, how the brain fosters maternal devotion, and why some mothers don't bond with their babies (it is conjectured that other drugs or chemical imbalances may be interfering with the dopamine rush a mother feels with her baby). There's fascinating research going on all the time! If you're interested in reading more about this article, click here or here.