UNDATED (CNN) -- Newborn babies are cute, and solicit all sorts of admiring compliments. But did you ever hear anyone talking about gobbling up a baby? This innocent little phrase may have a simple explanation.
You may be guilty of seeing a cute baby and saying, "Oh your baby is so cute I could just eat her right up!" Where does this phrase come from? Turns out it's not just a saying, but science and it's a fascinating find.
This, of course, is not a real desire. Researchers call it the fleeting desire. And it could come from a baby's smell, researchers in Germany conclude.
The study, published in "Frontiers in Psychology" compared the brains of two groups of women. One group had given birth within the past six weeks. The other group made up of women who had never given birth. Both groups were then exposed to smells collected from the pajamas of two-day old infants.
Those smells are activated reward circuits in the brain. This is the same circuit that causes us to desire certain foods and causes addiction to alcohol or drugs.
And no surprise that those feelings were activated more in mothers than non-mothers in the study group. Researchers say that they can hypothesize that this reward circuit has evolved in women and in similar ways, makes them feed and protect their children.
Men were not part of this study, so we don't know if these sweet baby smells activate the same circuit in men.