If the sight, smell or sound of a sweet baby nearby makes you crave one of your own, you might have what’s commonly known as baby fever. While it may seem like a silly itch, researchers connect several factors that increase baby fever in both men and women.
The Latest Research on Baby Fever
The primary study on this topic was done by husband and wife team Sandra and Gary Brase out of the Kansas State University and was published in the journal Emotion, a publication from the American Psychological Association. Based on questionnaires completed first by college students and later by a larger, broader set of subjects researchers concluded that baby fever does indeed exist as an emotional condition.
The most crucial factor in baby fever is a person’s positive or negative experiences with babies. Those who have been around sweet, pleasant, happy babies and had an enjoyable experience were more likely to catch baby fever than those who had negative experiences with baby temperaments and the tediousness and responsibility of caring for a baby.
Other factors also came into play such as a person’s financial security, career aspirations, and the thought of losing freedom once a baby arrives. Surprisingly, even women who believe in traditional gender roles did not have stronger baby fever than more progressive women.
Baby Fever in Men vs. Women
Although higher in women, baby fever exists in men too. Usually women ranked having a baby on the top of their list of priorities in life while men put sex above having a baby. (Since the two are related, there is certainly a connection.)
Women’s baby fever peaks younger and tends to decrease with age, especially after the reality of having one child. This may relate to a woman’s need to have children when she is physically capable of doing so. The regulatory mechanism known as a woman’s reproductive biological clock may kick in to enhance baby fever. Men’s baby fever increases with age even after having a baby.
Biology vs. Economics
The researchers set out to examine the emotional pull of having a baby. Plus they wanted to determine how that may differ from the biological and economic factors involved. As they point out, biology tells us that we are born to increase our gene pool. Procreating is our main job. On the other hand, economically speaking, having a baby is not a sound idea at all. The return on the investment is not beneficial.
Of course people have been having babies since the dawn of humanity. Somewhere in-between exists the emotional factor and the desire to nurture and love another small being, especially one you’ve created.
Sources: Time, LiveScience and Parenting