New research from eco-cleaning brand Ecover, which uses plant-based and biodegradable ingredients, reveals that parents are obsessed with the scent of their babies. In a survey of 1,000 UK parents, released to mark Allergy Awareness Week, over three quarters (77 per cent) believe that their baby has the best smell in the world.

In fact, 62% said they loved the smell of their baby so much they would want to bottle the scent, with some 70% rating their baby’s natural fragrance as being better than their favourite perfume or aftershave, and even preferable to the smell of freshly baked bread (70%).

And it appears that parents are biologically biased, believing that their baby smells better than other babies (80%), with some 78% believing that the smell of their baby helps them to bond.

The research marks the launch of Ecover’s Zero expanded range of cleaning and laundry products which contain zero added fragrance and zero colourants. The Allergy UK approved range is formulated to minimise the risk of allergies for those with sensitive skin, whilst the vegan-friendly ingredients are from renewable, plant-based sources and are biodegradable.

While some might think new parents have gone ‘gaga’ smelling their babies all the time, scientific studies support Ecover's findings. Dr. Sophie Forster, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at University of Sussex comments, “There is evidence showing that the smell of a newborn baby stimulates pleasure areas of the brain. The smell and association is so positive that parents proactively smell their babies’ heads throughout the day for that feel-good hit.

The smell is so addictive that parents go out of their way to smell their baby, doing so on average 6 times a day, most commonly during cuddles (63%), after a bath (48%), and at bedtime (47%). One in eight would give up a £1,000 a year pay rise so they could bottle their son or daughter's scent and keep it with them (16%), while 14% would be willing to miss out on a huge £10,000 pay rise.

And it’s not just parents who enjoy the newborn smell – six in ten (62%) parents have had someone else ask to smell their baby including family (50%), friends (28%), and strangers (2%).

Dr. Forster continues, “Sense of smell can become a parent’s super-power; whilst 69% of the parents surveyed by Ecover felt confident that they would be able to identify their baby by smell alone, evidence suggests that more like 87% would be able to do it, even just 2-3 days after birth – this just shows that you can underestimate how powerful the human sense of smell can be! Smell may also be one way that older siblings can recognise their new born brother or sister.”

The smell of baby also has the power to calm us; almost three-quarters of mums (74%) smell their baby’s head when they’re feeling stressed, with 85% admitting that the smell makes them feel relaxed. Mums miss the smell the most when they’re at work, with 72% saying they would smell their baby’s natural fragrance at work if they could carry it with them, compared to 55% of Dads.

Sarah Tuke, Head of Communications at Ecover UK, says, “Our research proves that nothing in the world smells as good as new born babies, and yet as a nation we’re in the habit of surrounding babies with overly fragranced laundry products that have the potential to irritate delicate skin. That’s why we’re championing babies’ right to smell like babies and have access to clean ingredients with zero added fragrance. Since its creation in 1979, Ecover has campaigned for a ‘cleaner’ world, and our latest launch makes no exception”.

To mark the launch of Ecover Zero, Ecover has created a spoof perfume advert called L’Eau de Bébé to highlight that babies don’t need ‘added fragrance’ – they already smell amazing. Ecover have also gone a step further and created a real L’Eau de Bébé fragrance, celebrating the amazing scent of new born baby. This will be available to the public via a social media competition.

A spokesperson from Allergy UK commented, “Fragrances and preservatives in washing detergents and cleaning products can sometimes trigger skin irritations in those affected by skin allergies or sensitive skin. A product with no added fragrance that is specially formulated to minimise the risk of allergies may be better suited for those who experience skin sensitivities or find that traditional washing detergents aggravate their skin.”