Most Women Hold Their Babies On Their Left Side—Here’s Why

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Anyone with kids knows only one side of the body is the baby-carrying side. This arm is toned, with muscle definition and, at times, even feels superhuman. This arm can carry an infant while prepping lunches, doing hair and eating with the other arm. It can carry 10 bags of groceries and a sleeping 3-year-old. This arm is THE arm.

But try to do the same thing with your other arm? Forget it.

Why Do Most People Carry Babies In Their Left Arm?

For most of the world, the super arm award goes to the left one. In fact, 70-85% of the world’s population prefers the left-arm baby carry to the right one.

Mothers and scientists have speculated for years as to why this is so. Most of the conversations I’ve had with friends have led to a dominant hand preference theory. We suspect right-handed people carry their babies on their left side to keep the “good” hand free.

But research reported by Nature Ecology and Evolution suggests women carry their babies on their left side because they are wired to do so — whether or not they are right-hand dominant.

holding baby photo
Flickr | Sellers Patton

More Of A Connection When Holding Babies On The Left

According to the study, “the preference to hold infants on the left rather than the right side of the body, as reported in human populations, reflects socio-emotional processes and potentially facilitates mother-infant relationships.”

Why is this? And, what does this mean for people like me that can only carry babies on the right? Is this just another way I am screwing up my children?

Maybe. According to the researchers, mothers that carry their babies on the left side are better able to connect with what their infants are feeling. In this position, mothers quickly recognize their babies’ needs using the right emotional side of the brain.

baby photo
Flickr | quinn.anya

Depression Possibly Linked To Holding Preference

Perhaps even more interesting, a 2007 study from the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry suggests women who carry their babies on the right are also more prone to depression and stress.

But lead researcher Dr Nadja Reissland, a senior lecturer in psychiatry at Durham University, was quick to throw us righties a bone.

“It is a tendency — not an absolute and just because a woman cradles on the right it does not mean she is stressed,” Reissland told Daily Mail.

baby photo
Flickr | f_a_r_e_w_e_l_l

RELATED: Scientific Evidence That Left-Handed People Are Exceptional

Righties Unite! Safety Over ‘Correctness’

For all those in the right-hand carry club reading this and starting to feel stressed, you are not alone. I have tried for years to carry my babes in my left arm, and the risk of dropping them is real. I just can’t do it.

I’m no scientist — but I have to believe that even though our preference is the minority, it is better to carry our babies safely than with evolutionary correctness.

Photo by Paul on Unsplash

What About Freeing Both Arms From Baby?

Want to have both arms free? Check out this awesome shirt:

Of course, you can always use a classic baby carrier to free your arms entirely!

For the mom or dad on the move, the Ergo Baby All Position 360 was deemed the best in a 2017 list from parenting site What to Expect. Parents love its ability to quickly adjust to fit babies of all shapes and sizes, along with a supportive seat for baby and extra-comfy padded waistbelt and shoulder straps.


Whichever way you wear your baby, we’re glad it works for you!