Research Behind the Lovey Heart Scent

Babies’ sense of smell, called “olfaction,” is highly developed at birth. Scientists think a baby’s ability to smell his mother is one of the important ways he learns to recognize her. Newborns spend a lot of time with their eyes closed. Researchers have found that newborns are able to tell the difference between the smell of their mothers and the smell of other women (yes, they really did a study!). Babies’ early exposure to a smell (in the first couple of hours after birth versus more than 12 hours after birth) results in a stronger and longer memory of the smell. This may be because newborn babies learn from their senses best when they have high levels of the hormone norepinephrine and this hormone is high in most babies in the first few hours after they are born.

Lovey Heart Scent Research

Babies don’t have the ability to know what smells are; they won’t know a flower or diaper by its smell – that takes experience. But, babies are calmed by familiar smells that they associate with good experiences (like a loving touch or breastfeeding). In contrast, babies may turn away from strangers with strong unfamiliar odors, so you might ask Aunt Sara not to wear too much perfume when she comes to visit!

Because babies are more likely to remember the odors they were exposed to very early in life, they are more likely to be familiar with and calmed by the smell of their own mothers – since she’s right there after birth. These studies do not mean that babies won’t be able to recognize their mothers’ smell if they are not with her in the first hour or two, but it might take longer than those who are physically close to their moms earlier in life.

Skin-to-skin contact for about an hour immediately after birth increases babies’ recognition of the smell of their moms’ milk at 4 days postpartum. Early skin-to-skin contact has many benefits for mom and baby and many hospitals encourage the practice immediately after birth, during the best time for learning. Dads can make sure that baby is familiar with their smell by cuddling close early and often!

The Lovey Heart Scent helps provide comfort to babies who have to spend time in the NICU following their birth because their mother's scent can stay with them.

The Lovey Heart Scent helps provide comfort to babies who have to spend time in the NICU following their birth because their mother’s scent can stay with them.


1. Winberg J, Porter R. Olfaction and human neonatal behavior: clinical implications. Acta Paediatr 1998; 87: 6-10.
2. Mizuno K et al. Mother-infant skin-to-skin contact after delivery results in early recognition of own mother’s milk odor. Acta Paediatr 2004; 93: 1640-5.
3. Romantshik O et al. Preliminary evidence of a sensitive period for olfactory learning by human newborns. 2007; 96: 372-376.
4. Nishitani S, Miyamura T, Tagawa M, Sumi M, Takase R, Doi H, Moriuchi H, Shinohara K. The calming effect of a maternal breast milk odor on the human newborn infant. Neurosci Res. 2009;63:66-71.
5. Shah PS, Aliwalas LI, Shah V. Breastfeeding or breast milk for procedural pain in neonates. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006;3:CD004950.
6. Delaunay-El Allam M, Marlier L, Schaal B. Learning at the breast: preference formation for an artificial scent and its attraction against the odor of maternal milk. Infant Behav Dev. 2006;29(3):308-21.

2018-01-04T17:17:37-06:00 February 22nd, 2016|Blog|7 Comments


  1. Rosanne January 8, 2018 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    Simple techniques holding them, talking to them, holding them up to a mirror to show them me holding them is a cuddling bonding moment. No equipment just arms

    • Lovey Baby January 12, 2018 at 2:12 pm

      So agree. Love your ideas Bonding isn’t just one thing to be done or used. The Heart Scent is used for when mom isn’t in close proximity with her little love. It’s nice to use for babies that have to stay in NICU, mom’s that leave her baby when working outside the home, date night, just a few ideas. Also great to scent the heart with baby’s scent and give to the family dog to familiarize dog with the baby before they are introduced
      The Lovey Bathing Wrap is perfect to inhibit the startle reflex which can be frighting to a baby and makes bath time relaxing. Watch the video 💕

  2. Jennifer Hess January 11, 2018 at 7:42 pm - Reply

    Singing and reading to them to help with bonding.

  3. Brittany January 15, 2018 at 11:04 am - Reply

    This would be amazing to try with my newborn I just wish I had it for the other 5 lol

  4. Kimberly January 17, 2018 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    These look so nice.

  5. Annie W January 20, 2018 at 6:54 am - Reply

    We follow most of the attachment parenting method

  6. Carrie January 31, 2018 at 10:04 pm - Reply

    Breastfeeding is best bonding

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