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Cute newborn baby sleeping in her mother's arms while she kisses her head, in a story about a viral ...
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This TikTok Suggests Your Baby’s Yummy Head Smell Is Actually The Scent Of Their Brain

For the record, no, it’s definitely not.

It’s just another day on the internet, and to the surprise of no one, there’s a new rumor to debunk. You know that delicious newborn baby head smell we’re all obsessed with? Well, recently, a woman on TikTok put forth the argument that the scent of your baby’s head is, in fact, not their sweet little head at all, but rather the smell of their brain emanating from their soft spot. This is, of course, a very weird assertion and would effectively make those of us who love that smell zombies, right? Well, fear not: experts say smelling your infant’s brain through their head is quite literally impossible.

TikTok user @maledictusmaleficarium participated in a trend on the platform encouraging users to say something weird they spend a lot of time thinking about, or an odd factoid they just don’t get to share often. In her video, she says, “When you sniff the top of a baby’s head and it smells really good and really sweet, and it makes you want to take care of the babies, you’re actually smelling the baby’s brain. Because they have that little soft spot in the top of their head where it’s not grown together quite yet, and then it goes away right around the time the fontanelle closes up.”

“You’re smelling baby brain. The smell of brains is what’s making you love that child,” she concludes. And social media is all abuzz now with users who are understandably pretty disturbed. “Someone on TikTok said that sweet baby head smell you’re smelling is actually their brain and I’ve never known a day of peace since,” says X user Margot Wood. On TikTok, some new parents seem to have accepted the video as truth and others are trying to make peace with the fact that they’re apparently really into the smell of brains.

If you needed an expert to confirm this is, in fact, all nonsense, here you go: “No, this would not be possible. And unfortunately, that new baby smell, we love it, but it goes away in a few weeks and the baby’s soft spots stays open for months, so it doesn’t really line up or add up,” says Dr. Jason Yaun, M.D., pediatrician at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and associate professor at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

So, great, you can’t smell your baby’s brain through their tissue and skin, just like you can’t smell any of their other organs, or yours, or anyone else’s. But why do their heads smell like catnip for parents?

“Some of the theories out there are that it’s some of the residual materials from the amniotic fluid. Other theories are around it being from sweat glands. It could be some of both, but it is very strong and one of the most beloved smells,” says Yaun.

I asked Yaun if he’d ever smelled a brain — doctors see all kinds of things in their line of work — and he says of all the brains he’s been around in surgeries, he has never noticed they smell like anything at all.

So, while we don’t know exactly why newborns’ heads smell so darn good, we have it on good authority that it’s not because their soft spot is leaking eau de brain. May we all know peace once more.


Dr. Jason Yaun, M.D., pediatrician at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and associate professor at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center