From England, research is suggesting that the way a mother holds her baby may be an indication of her stress levels and may possibly signal depression.
Published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, the study found that mothers who cradle their baby to the right are more often suffering extreme stress than mothers who cradle to the left.
Apparently this work was based on earlier findings which also revealed that the majority of mothers prefer to cradle their baby to the left regardless of whether they are left or right handed. There was no link between the side the mothers cradles their babies on and their left or right handedness.
Here are the details fro the study:
“They studied 78 new mothers and their babies — averaging 7 months old — in their own homes. The mothers were observed cradling their babies and also completed a survey on their mental state. eight-six percent of the mothers who expressed little sign of stress or depression, cradled to the left.
Reissland suggests studying non-verbal cues such as baby cradling could help doctors and health visitors identify post-natal depression and other situations in which mothers are in need of extra professional support.”
I wonder what we’d see if we observed primates in their natural habitats? Anthropologically speaking, I imagine this position is more natural and more comfortable, perhaps keeping baby close to the heart. I’m not sure about the relationship with depression but it’s interesting nonetheless.