Parents aren't supposed to play favorites, but many new mothers can't seem to help it. A recent study has found that up to 85 percent of moms have a "left-sided bias," which means they prefer to cradle their child on their left hip instead of their right. The findings are particularly surprising when you remember that a large majority of people are right-handed, so it would seem likely that a woman would set her baby on her right hip after picking the infant up.
But that's not the case. And while no single reason has been definitively identified for this left-sided bias, theories abound. One popular theory is that the signals from the left side of the body are sent to the right hemisphere of a mother's brain, which is largely responsible for interpreting social cues, building relationships, and monitoring one's surroundings. Thus, holding the baby on the left hip could contribute to mother-child bonding and better awareness of the infant's safety.
Others point out that the placement keeps the baby close to the mother's heart, which can be calming and might help regulate the baby's temperature. It turns out men aren't so "hip," with studies showing they have less of a preference when it comes to how to hold their child.
More about new moms:
- On average, American women give birth to their first child at age 25; in 1970, the average age was 21.
- In 1879, Anna Bates gave birth to the heaviest baby on record: a boy weighing 22 pounds (9.98 kg). Bates herself was 7 ft 11 in (2.4 m) tall.
- Women around the world give birth to approximately 360,000 babies every day, or 130 million per year.