The Human Breast as a Scent Organ: Exocrine structures, Secretions, Volatile Components, and Possible Functions in Breastfeeding Interactions

  • Benoist Schaal
  • Sébastien Doucet
  • Robert Soussignan
  • Matthias Rietdorf
  • Gunnar Weibchen
  • Wittko Francke


Milk and the nipples of mammalian females have long been known to release attraction in conspecific newborns. This applies also to humans, in whom breast odour cues control infant state and directional responses. Such cues from the whole breast as well as from the isolated areola delay crying onset and stimulate positive orientation and oral actions in infants. Native secretions from areolar glands are especially salient to newborns in which they intensify oral-facial actions and respiration. Thus, odorous compounds from areolar glands may be in a position to play a role, among many other determinants, in establishing the processes pertaining to milk production, transfer and intake by infants.


Human Milk Sebaceous Gland Scent Gland Mammalian Female Native Secretion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media,LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benoist Schaal
    • 1
  • Sébastien Doucet
  • Robert Soussignan
  • Matthias Rietdorf
  • Gunnar Weibchen
  • Wittko Francke
  1. 1.CNRS, Centre Européen des Sciences du Goût21000 DijonFrance

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