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Baby's Cries Killing the Mood? That's the Plan!

Baby crying
Photograph by Getty Images/iStockphoto

New parents can agree: A baby's cries are sure to shut down any hopes of having a romantic night. Apparently, though, there's more science to it than just making parents feel guilty (and annoyed).

According to a new study out of Harvard University, babies are actually programmed to monopolize their mom's time and affection. In other words? No time for "us" time.

But there's more to it than cries of just being mood-killers, reports The Daily Mail.

In addition to late-night breast-feeding extending a mother's post-birth infertility (amenorrhoea), professor and study author David Haig also says, "Night waking increases in the second half of the first year of infant life and is more pronounced for breast-fed babies." How does that connect, though? Well, Haig says that baby's tendency to walk around at night looking to get fed is an ecological adaption in an effort to extend amenorrhoea.

Natural selection plays a part because infants seek to delay the birth of a new baby—infants benefit from this delay as it extends the IBI, or inter-birth interval. A baby's late-night roamings and cries for food essentially suppress a woman's ovarian function, as the infant benefits from more attention and less competition from a sibling.

"Spacing out siblings would give the mother more time to recover from the birth and make young children more independent, boosting their chances of survival, so this research makes perfect sense," Siobhan Freegard, founder of British parenting website Netmums, told The Daily Mail.

In other words, it's all part of Mother Nature's plan.

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