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My wife has said many times that our son is so cute and adorable that she wants to gobble him up.

Why do mothers sometimes feel an urge to bite (or tightly hug) their children?

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This question sounds like it'd belong on the English Language & Usage SE rather than here >_> –  Doc Feb 27 at 22:31
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I don't think it's a peculiarity of English language. The desire to bite or hug something cute is a known phenomenon in humans, not just English-speaking ones. –  Steve HHH Feb 27 at 23:42
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Because she's hungry after giving birth? You should make her a sandwich. In fact, always carry a sandwich, to throw at her if she starts gnawing on your kid. –  SQB Feb 28 at 10:06
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I don't think it's just a phrase. My wife actually has an urge to bite or eat our son, though of course she never acts on it. The phrase must have come about in many languages because of a common human instinct. I am curious about that instinct, which seems more common in mothers than in fathers. –  Steve HHH Feb 28 at 19:48
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@SteveHHH it sounds like what you're really after here is the etymology of the phrase. This site's focus is practical advice on parenting activities. Even though the phrase exists in many languages, I suggest that you pose this question over at English language & usage. –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Feb 28 at 20:31
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2 Answers 2

It's just a phrase used to stress how much she loves her! She's not going to do her any harm:)

I sometimes have a tiny urge to bite my LO's ear when she's on my arms being cute and sweet. I never do it though. So perhaps there is something literal to this phrase, as we tend to kiss and hug and cuddle with our kids.

The topic's been mentioned here and there on the Internet, see this forum discussion or this study report.

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because the default human response to cute things is to gobble them up!

it probably stems from the fact that kissing and nibbling on babies will make them giggle and thus make you more prone to play with them :)

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Unless gobble them up means something other than consuming or using up something quickly, your first sentence does not make any sense. –  Robert Cartaino Mar 3 at 23:34
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