Did you know that there is an instinctual preference for parents to hold their babies to one side rather than the other?
The Nature Research Journal has recently published a study by Janeane Ingram that shows that children of mammalian parents approach their parents from the left of their body. This approach, as well as the cradling of children on the left side of the body, has come about because the right hemisphere of the brain is used for processing social cues and building relationships. This is the part of the brain that receives signals from the left eye, which is why children are, so they say, more often cradled on the left side of the body. Parents, then, may be able to care for their children better and form lasting bonds simply by observing this natural preference for cradling babies on a particular side.
After examining interactions between infant baby whales, horses and their mothers (as well as a host of other mammals), Ingram noticed that infants bonded by rubbing their bodies against their mothers when they were on the left of their parents. She also noticed that when they positioned themselves on the right of their parents, the children were less likely to be left behind.
Ingram noted that during leisurely walking and suckling, children would be to the left of their parents. However, this position was likely to change as children increasingly became more independent.
Ingram and other researchers who have studied this tendency separately have all concluded that an evolutionary advantage is the underlying reason for keeping loved ones to the left of us, with the presence of predators more easily felt when they approach from that same side. Now, were not suggesting that you should start living in fear of a hungry pack of wolves attacking you from your left side, but that extra level of bonding potential is something to consider the next time you have your baby snuggle up close in one of our Amazonas Baby Slings.