Whether they are right- or left-handed, most mothers cradle their babies to their left side. But if a mother cradles her baby to her right side, that may show she is under extreme stress, according to a study from Durham University in England.
Although most new mothers feel stressed in the early stages of their baby’s life, the researchers say that baby cradling habits are a key indicator of whether this stress could become overwhelming and lead to depression.
The scientists studied 79 new mothers and their babies, who were an average age of 7 months.
In their own homes, mothers were asked to pick up their babies and cradle them in their arm. They also completed a survey that quizzed them on their mental state. The research methodology demonstrated that there was no link between cradling side and left- or right-handedness.
The study found that of the mothers who expressed no signs of stress or depression in the survey, 86 percent preferred to hold their babies to the left. However, cradling babies to the right was more prominent among stressed mothers. Of these, 32 percent showed a right-sided bias.