Fact: Babies are cute. With their little button noses, rosy cheeks, big eyes and that indescribable baby smell, who can resist them?
And now science says babies are actually designed to be adorable so they appeal to our parental instincts. In a new study, researchers at Oxford University found that these cute characteristics, which include visual features as well as sounds and smells, trigger caregiving behaviours. The study found that cuteness affects both men and women, as well as those without children—that’s why the sweet granny on the street can’t resist your babe.
It all makes sense. They’re so adorable it forces us to give them the constant attention they need to survive. Despite all those poopy diapers and the fact that they wake up at two a.m. screaming, we forgive them as soon as we get a whiff of that sweet baby smell.
That being said, it’s time for some real talk. Ugly babies do exist. Just try googling babies who look like Wallace Shawn (or look at that “cutie” pictured above). But maybe their little laughs and soft skin lull their parents into thinking they’re cute. Ugly baby or not, you’ll just go “awwww!” and continue to soothe them, even though you’re sleep-deprived and your nipples are cracked and you can’t really remember the last time you showered. Gosh, science is good!
And what about strangers? Even they fall under your little gremlin’s spell—they just soak up that baby smell and hear that laugh and they’re done. Cutest baby ever!