Researches from the last 60 years has proven that most people, including right-handed ones, prefer holding babies on their left side.
It might be because they prefer keeping their right hands free for other tasks. But, then why do left-handed people also prefer keeping their babies on the left side? Science has delved into it and found a compelling reason behind why three-quarters of women hold babies on their left side.
The first study was conducted in 1960, and since then, 40 similar studies have been undertaken to understand this preference when cradling their baby.
Julian Packheiser, the lead author of the report published in the journal Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, says, “In order to explain the effect, we looked for all of the studies we could find on this topic.”
It was deciphered that 66 percent to 72 percent of the people hold a baby on their left side. While it is only 61 percent for left-handed people, this number is as high as 74 percent for right-handed people. The ratio is the same regardless of gender: 64 percent of men and 73 percent of women cradle a baby on their left side.
A study published in Science Direct, Brain and Cognition in 2014 says that this could be because the way our brain functions – the left connects to the right and triggers the emotions.
The right side of our brain is the "bonding" side of the brain, which is responsible for understanding signals from our environment, how to direct social situations, build relationships, and also feelings of love we have for our kids.
Now, this side of our brain receives signals from the left side of our bodies. So by keeping our kids on the left and by observing them more closely, we help our right brain to develop that motherly bond.
The researchers also established a preference among babies. They too prefer their mother’s left side because that keeps them closer to the mother’s heart. It soothes them, imbibes calmness in their otherwise super-active mind, and helps in regulating their heartbeat.
Moreover, when you hold the baby on your left side, their right ear is near your mouth, which is responsible for translating information to the left side – which is responsible for building language.
While the study from Bochum also stresses on the brain’s functioning, they also tried to find a link between “gender and handedness.” After all, men are 23 percent more likely to be left-handed than women.
The researcher says, “Unfortunately, this link has not been considered in any study.” She also added, “Further studies would have to take into account the emotional context of holding babies.”
However, it doesn't mean all parents hold their babies on the left side, but it's undoubtedly an interesting theory to consider.