"Ten little fingers, ten little toes." It's a phrase that movies and TV have shown a thousand times over. When a woman finds out that she's pregnant, the gender of the baby might not be the first reaction, but it doesn't take long. Those early weeks until the all-important "gender-reveal" scan might be full of first trimester symptoms, but anticipation is right up there with it.
In general, the 16 to 20-week mark is when a mommy-to-be can find out whether she'll be having a little girl or a little boy. Some expectant mothers stand at an absolute "yes" on finding out. Others prefer to keep it a surprise. Either way, it's an exciting time. The bump is going to get bigger, those cravings might well come, and it's time to start thinking ahead.
"Modern mothers are more likely to want daughters over sons." That's a pretty interesting statistic that surfaced over in the UK in 2017. Apparently, mommies-to-be in the UK are twice as likely to want a little girl over a boy. Regardless, the moment a new mother discovers the gender of her baby is still one of absolute joy.
The real questions though, are still why mommies want a girl or a boy. There are so many reasons– for both. Girly things conjure up images of pink, tutus, and dressing up. With boys, it's more outdoor fun, bonding time with dad, or, in some cultures, tradition. We've rounded up the top reasons for each. Here are 10 reasons moms want girls (plus 10 why they hope for a boy).
20 GIRLS: SHE'LL BE A LITTLE BALLERINA
From someone who 100% did this as a little girl, trust us. Ballet classes and those tiny pink tutus are so much fun (even if the most you do is sit and watch). The ballerina dream has been "what I want to do when I grow up" for little girls for centuries. Something about dancing to music and feeling like a fairytale princess is a huge draw.
Ballet does involve a touch of discipline (makes a change when it's not you dishing it out), but for the most part, baby ballet classes are all about the fun. Kim and Kourtney Kardashian's kids both did this.
19 BOYS: SOCCER, TRUCKS, AND G.I. JOE
We're now in an age where gender barriers barely exist. Gender-neutral names are all the rage. Will Smith's son wears girl's clothes. Angelina Jolie's daughter wears boy's clothes. Some things are still traditional, though.
"I love watching his face when we throw him a ball," one mother said. "He goes nuts with the trucks!" another said.
The UK forum, Mumset is full of threads where mommies-to-be ask questions about having a baby boy. Fortunately, it's also full of mommies who have boys (and 100% love it). Boys can play with dolls, but by and large, they make a beeline for G.I. Joe and those trucks.
18 GIRLS: THEY START TALKING EARLIER
Development is always an individual thing. Some babies start babbling very early. Others take a little longer. Overall though, the statistics point towards baby girls starting talking earlier. British researchers found that at both 18 and 24 months, girls had "significantly larger vocabularies."
Exposure is still what seems to count with language development. The gender difference is said to account for only 3% of that boy/girl difference. Still, every percent counts! If you can't wait to start babbling with your baby, you may well have less of a wait with a girl. Just don't expect her first words to be Louis Vuitton (we aren't all Kardashians).
17 BOYS: BETTER SPATIAL SKILLS
Spatial awareness skills factor into everything we do. We don't realize it, but even stacking the dishes involves that part of the brain. When researchers tried to figure out why boys seem to perform slightly better in the math portion of SAT exams, they studied spatial skills.
Studies suggest that boys as young as 3-5 months are able to visualize how an object will appear when rotated (whereas girls of the same age are not yet able to). If you're excited for a little genius who will show it early, you've got all the reasons to see it with a boy. With a girl? You might just have to wait a little longer.
16 GIRLS: ALL THAT PINK
Millennials are way less about old-fashioned tradition than their parents were. Some moms to girls never buy a single pink item. Likewise, some mommies to boys don't buy blue. The temptation to go for pink stuff if you have a girl is huge, though. Dresses, nursery walls, blankets– the list goes on.
Khloe Kardashian 100% channeled her girly love of pink here with baby True. You won't need to be a celeb to do this. #LongLivePink
A girl will definitely let you go wild with the pink. Well, that is, until she's old enough to say: "Hey! I want yellow!"
15 BOYS: ALL THAT BLUE
The traditional "boy color" is blue. Despite what you might imagine, it isn't as old as you think– up until the 1950s, both blue and pink were equally chosen for boys and girls. It was even the other way around for a while. In 1918, the Infant Department baby trade magazine even said: "the generally accepted rule is pink for the boy and blue for the girl."
By and large, mommies in the western world still zoom into the blue zone for boys (and pink for girls). If you're having a boy and love the color blue, you can choose from navy, Royal, pastel, baby blue, or the endless other shades.
14 GIRLS: THE DIAPER SITUATION IS OVER QUICKER
This one has been well-documented by multiple studies over the years. Baby girls seem to get the knack of toilet training faster than their boy counterparts. Girls start toilet training anywhere between 22 and 30 months. Boys, meanwhile, can take between 3 months and one year longer to be #DryAndAlone.
On average, using the toilet unaided is around 33 months for girls (and 37 months for boys).
These milestones will always vary between each individual baby. Another one to bear in mind is doing number 2. Once again, girls seem to manage this faster on their own. Either way, prepare for diapers at the start!
13 BOYS: THE "GROWN-UP TALK" IS LEFT TO DAD
The "grown-up" talk can feel a million miles away. Whether you're pregnant, reading this while your newborn sleeps, or you've got toddlers, the thought of them becoming teenagers...well, it's far away. It will happen, though.
Families are now a lot more open-minded about the "birds and the bees" talks that most parents feel is the responsible thing to do. For girls, there will be body changes to discuss. Likewise, for boys. While some moms take a hands-on approach with this regardless of their kid's gender, many moms to boys are a little relieved that they can leave the "guy talk" to dad.
12 GIRLS: CLOTHES, CLOTHES, CLOTHES
Where to begin? Something about women and shopping will always go hand-in-hand. Blair Waldorf did it in Gossip Girl. Rachel Green did it in Friends. Carrie Bradshaw did it in Sex and The City. Whether it's budget-friendly tees at Target, ogling the celeb Versace, or picking out unique vintage pieces, girls were born to shop.
Having a little girl will definitely let you embrace your inner fashionista. You can't guarantee that she'll grow up to be one, but while she's little, you can shop to your heart's content (for her and for you). Baby clothes are cute for both boys and girls. There's a touch more choice for girls, though.
11 GIRLS: SHOES, SHOES, SHOES
Shoes used to be about stiletto or kitten heels. Given that Kylie Jenner now posts pics of baby Stormi in Nike Air Jordans, the footwear realm has definitely gotten wider. Of course, the biggest downside of shoe shopping for a baby is that they will grow out of them in the blink of an eye.
A boy might play around with shoes, but it's the girls who inevitably find themselves in mommy's shoe closet– oops, busted. Of course, standing there in your high heels and looking completely innocent, you can't help but smile. If you love shoes, a little girl is going to be a lot of fun.
10 BOYS: DADDY BONDING TIME
It's celeb pics like these that show exactly what we're talking about. Chris Pratt? He takes his son fishing. Bonding with mom and dad is a huge part of a baby's development. While some mothers worry about their baby becoming too attached to them, another worry can be that the baby doesn't spend enough time with dad.
A baby boy will offer dad the biggest ever opportunity for some father and son bonding. Whether it's playing video games, watching or playing baseball, kicking a ball around, or even fishing, there'll be a million things to do. Of course, mommies can join in.
9 BOYS: THEN AGAIN, HE MIGHT BE A MOMMA'S BOY
The official definition of a "momma's boy" is a man who is "excessively attached to his mother at an age at which men are expected to be independent."
If you've ever had to clean up socks (or anything else) after a man, you might know that this can present itself rather amusingly in most households!
If they're loved, kids will mirror that love– to both mom and dad. There's no denying, though, that some boys like snuggling up to mommy. Interestingly, while Snooki herself hasn't said that she has a "momma's boy," her fellow cast member, Vinny Guadagnino has admitted to being one!
8 GIRLS: MORE IN TUNE WITH THEIR EMOTIONS
Girls being more "in tune" with their emotions is something that women often quote to men (after complaining that men "don't understand us"). With over 100 studies looking into this, turns out it's true. Researchers have concluded that even in infancy, girls are more skilled at decoding emotions based on facial expressions.
One study found that baby girls would rather look at faces than mobiles (while boys preferred the latter). Reading facial expressions begins at birth. Nurture is a huge component of seeing progress here. Ultimately, it does seem to be a gender difference, though. Researchers found that adult men only have 50% of the emotional reading capability of women.
7 BOYS: A SCIENTIFIC EXCUSE TO EAT MORE DURING PREGNANCY
Literally "eating for two" is now something that is discouraged by health experts. While pregnancy does require some nutrition changes, you don't need to eat for two full people. The best advice will come from your doctor.
The British Medical Journal showed that women expecting boys eat 10% more than those expecting girls. Interestingly, there was no notable difference in size or shape.
Pregnancy is definitely the time to eat right and keep it balanced. It's also a time when those pregnancy cravings can kick in. With a boy though, you've got a scientific excuse to have the last pizza slice!
6 GIRLS: MATCHING OUTFITS SHE'LL ACTUALLY LEARN TO APPRECIATE
Matching mommies and babies are all the rage. Whether it's tiny tees for when they're newborns or matching Halloween outfits, something about being a mom in 2018 or 2019 makes us want to #Match. A boy? He might be a dapper gentleman, or he might not care. Girls? They tend to pay a little more attention.
Of course, it's when they're tiny that the matching is often the cutest. Ironically, that's also the time when they're far too young to have a clue what's going on. If you've got your eye on a 4 or 5 year-old who will want to match her clothes to her mom though, you'll enjoy having a girl.
5 BOYS: FUSS-FREE HAIR
It will always be adorable to watch your baby's reaction when you fuss over them. Remember being a kid and having someone smear sunscreen all over you? You'd wriggle away. On the whole, boys tend to be lighter on the fuss front. They're more up for kicking a ball around outdoors than doing indoor girly stuff. That's totally subjective, though.
While girls might reach the age of 4 or 5 and want braids, colorful hair bands, or glitter in their hair, boys are more likely to say: "I don't care." Traditions are changing, but for the most part, boys still rock a short, easy cut.
4 GIRLS: ALL THE FUSSING IN THE WORLD
Here is Jessica Simpson with her daughter. They're at a glam launch. Just recently, Victoria Beckham posted an Instagram pic of little Harper sitting on her lap. They were reading Vogue together. Girls can be tomboys, but by and large, they're 100% up for the fussing over clothes and accessories.
Think about it. When you were a little girl, did you rummage through closets and try on your mother's clothes? If you did, prepare for the same to happen to you. If you love all things girly, makeup, hair, and clothes, a little girl will let you indulge in that whole side of you.
3 BOYS: LESS PRESSURE (IN MANY CULTURES)
While you might be reading this on a smartphone in the US, Canada, UK, or anywhere with progressive perspectives, remember that many parts of the world still view gender strictly.
"If you have a girl, you feel you've let your husband down," one Indian mother told The Independent. It's heart-breaking, but some cultures do pressurize moms to have boys.
Even in the developed world, there's still a strange pressure for women to "have a boy at some point." In some cases, it's to "continue the family name." In others, dads are wanting a boy. We hope that you never feel pressured, but it is a fact in some situations.
2 GIRLS: A CHANCE TO RELIVE YOUR OWN CHILDHOOD
For many mommies, having a girl can offer that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to actually relive their own childhood. Many of us have a few keepsakes from when we were young. Perhaps it's our favorite doll. Or a teddy bear. We'll look at it or take it out from time to time, but full-on girl play just isn't on the cards.
When you have a little girl, watching her grow up will give you a chance to join in all over again. The tea parties. The Barbies. The dress-up. Whatever it is that you did when you were a little girl, you can do all over again.
1 BOYS: A CHANCE TO EXPERIENCE WHAT WE NEVER HAD
Having a boy is the chance to live the boyhood experience that we never had. Whether it's Nerf Guns, trucks, soccer, or super-advanced and boyish video games, having a little boy will open a whole new world.
"I've learned so much "boy" stuff," one mom said. "I can recognize car types from diesel to petrol. I also discovered steam trains!"
This Mumsnet forum comment followed a long list of "boy discoveries" that also included DIY, LEGO "as I never knew it," and rugby.
Hit share on Facebook for anyone who needs to see this. Boys are just as magical as girls, but there are now 20 reasons we hope for either one.
Sources: What To Expect, CNBC, Live Science