Why Do Mothers Cradle Babies on their Left side?


Pankaj Kumar

- January 16, 2017

If you often hold your baby on your left side, you’re not alone. Researchers from the University of Sussex recently released a new study that found the phenomenon to be related to how our brains process information.

The mystery of why mothers cradle babies predominantly on their left side has long baffled scientists. Over the years, there have been many theories, such as freedom of the dominant hand and location of mom’s heartbeat. However, according to this research , the habit is nature’s way of helping us stay in tune with our babies.

Hand a woman a baby — or even a doll — and she is likely to cradle it on her left side. According to researchers, this allows mothers to keep a close eye on their child’s changing emotions and needs.

mothers cradle babies predominantly on their left side

You’ve probably heard of the differences in the right brain versus the left brain before. While the left brain processes logical information, such as language and math, the right takes care of ideas and feelings.

right brain versus the left brain

When a mother holds her baby on the left side, the information she absorbs is passed directly to her right brain. That makes it easier for the woman to quickly understand, and respond to, the immediate needs of her baby.

The latest study, published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, looked at the behaviour of 79 new mothers in their own homes.

32 per cent used their right arm to hold their child

The mothers were asked to pick up their babies and cradle them in their arms naturally, and were also quizzed on their mental state.

Forty-four of the mothers were showing signs of baby-related stress.

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Of those who reported no symptoms of stress or depression, just 14 per cent cradled their babies on their right side.

About 80 percent of fathers also cradle on the left. Nobody knows whether that’s male instinct, or just Dad following Mom’s baby-holding instructions.

80 percent of fathers also cradle on the left

Left-sided cradlers are shown in art efacts from ancient civilisations and historic works of art. For example, the Virgin Mary is almost always depicted holding the baby Jesus in her left arm.

However, many female animals, including kangaroos, sheep, whales, and horses, have also been found to favor the left side when caring for their young.

female animals have also been found to favor the left side

It’s incredible to think of the ways that mothers are prepared to take care of their babies without even realizing it. Who knows? We might have other special powers that we have yet to discover!

Do you hold your baby on your left side? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to share this information with the new and expecting moms in your life.

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