Baby Fever: Men Get It Too!

Turns out women aren't the only sex likely to contract a fever of the wanting-to-make-babies variety.
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If you thought baby fever just affected women, turns out you're as wrong as a 3 o'clock in the morning diaper explosion. A new study in the journal Emotion says men can be bitten by the bug too.

Husband and wife researcher team Gary and Sandra Brase from Kansas State University ventured to explain the incessant need to procreate after they themselves welcomed a second child. Their study looked at three possible theories.

  • We are programmed by society to feel we are supposed to pop out babies.
  • We feel the need to nurture, or take care of something.
  • We experience baby fever when it's the right time to procreate.

The third theory tested best with study participants, who the researchers say experienced a more intense desire to have babies when they were exposed to the cute and cuddly variety. On the contrary, fussy, stinky infants understandably lessened the urge to TTC.

Interestingly, the Brases noticed the intensity of each sex's desire to produce offspring seemed to vary over time. Women were more likely to develop the incurable desire to have a first baby, while men were more likely to want to have more kids after the first one was born.

Brase says he's observed this phenomenon in his own life. "I have noticed the change in my own desire after I had kids. Babies were more attractive and I wanted to hold them."

But what about diaper them, feed them, and entertain them day in and day out? Well, therein perhaps lies the explanation for why having a first child can magically cure a woman's baby fever: she sees how much work babies are! And since men aren't typically the primary caregivers, they may not see all the blood, sweat, tears that go into the job—not to mention all of the poop.

Need more evidence men want more babies after they're fathers? Just ask my husband, who has been trying to convince me for years to go for baby #4!

Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.

Lilly had just finished her master's degree when she got pregnant. She made a choice she never expected.

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