Study: Moms' brains are wired to respond to baby's cries

- The cries of an infant make new moms spring into action. 

"When he's crying, I immediately have to go to him and fix it," offered mom Chelsea Anderson. 

Moms feel the need, even if the baby isn't their own. 

"If I'm out in a restaurant or something, my sensors go off and I can’t really concentrate on the conversation I'm having," said mom Autumn Palacz.

But it turns out, they really can't help themselves. The need for a mother to rush to a crying baby is hardwired in the brain.

Researchers studied MRI scans of 700 first-time moms from nearly a dozen countries. They discovered no matter the culture, new moms respond the same way to a crying infant: picking them up and talking to them. On average, they did this within five seconds of a baby's first cry. 

The study, conducted by the National Institutes of Health and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, comes as no surprise to pediatrician Dr. Lori Bowers. She says the topic of crying comes up often in her Riverview office. 

"It's always hard and that's a question I get all the time -- especially with new parents, first-time parents -- is the amount of crying the babies do."

Dr. Bowers says studies show babies cry more between 4 to 6 weeks of age than at any other point in their lives. It should last about a week of two and then it subsides. 

If a baby continues to cry, even when they are well fed and rested, Dr. Bowers says there may be an underlying problem and parents should consult their pediatrician.

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