Why Do Moms Hold Babies On The Left More Often?

Particularly in the early weeks of an infant’s life, it is said that mothers tend to cradle babies more on the left.

Many have long assumed that handedness determines how you hold your baby. So, right handed mothers will tend to hold their baby on the left to ensure their leading hand is free….and as there are more right-handers in the world than left, you naturally tend to find more babies on the left.

That kind of practicality makes sense right? Except, I’m a leftie and have always held my littles on the left hand side too!

Fascinating new research suggests that baby positioning is actually down to how our brains are wired.

It’s all to do with the two completely different sides of our brain you see.  The right hand side of a mammal’s brain is responsible for processing social cues, relationship building and also receives signals from the left eye. Some researchers therefore think that moms will keep their littles on the left so they can better monitor, and connect, with that all important left eye.

As a child grows stronger, less vulnerable and more independent, this left positioning by mom can change says scientists.

However, it’s not just mom that has a preferred side – little mammals on the move prefer to keep their mom on one side also. The left.  A team from the University of Tasmania, Australia, studied 11 wild animals – including horses, sheep, walruses and even whales – and recorded nearly 11,000 position choices for 175 mom-infant pairs.

Around 75% of the time, the littles wanted mom on the left! Because keeping mom on their left meant they are better able to keep track of her, not get left behind and therefore increases their chance of survival.

However, a threat reverses roles says the lead researcher, Janeane Ingram: “Infants keep their mother on their left in normal situations such as moving forward or suckling,” she says. “But when faced with stressful situations such as when fleeing, mothers prefer their infant on their left side so they can better monitor them,” Left is mama’s protective mode.

They say this research could have great implications in studying development disorders associated with reduced eye contact between mother and infant, such as autism spectrum disorder.

The human body never ceases to amaze us. We are one heck of a design plan the way our bodies work aren’t we? Remarkable. Go, Mother Nature!

The full story on the research can be found here.

 

 

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Forget All The “New Year, New You” Promises…

Just be you in 2017.  And love YOU. Because you are fabulous, just as you are.

Sorry to go all Bridget Jones on you there and quote Mark Darcy, but maybe you needed to hear that.

2016 threw a lot at us – there’s no denying it was a hard year. But ask yourself this, how hard were you on yourself?

Because we (parents) are really good at that aren’t we? Beating ourselves up. Doubting ourselves. Comparing ourselves. Guilt-tripping ourselves…over and over again.

So this year, instead of aiming for an all new ‘better’ you, how about promising to be a little kinder to the now you?

We’re not saying don’t be ambitious in 2017 – by all means set goals. We’re saying be unashamedly and unapologetically realistic.

As parents, we already have our hands full day to day, so when it comes to new year goals,  don’t set yourself up for failure by over promising. If you do, chances are, in less than three weeks, you will find yourself right back where you started – with added guilt, self-doubt and a big ol’ dollop of defeat.

When it comes to resolutions, maybe 2017 is the year where you will start saying ‘I will NOT’ instead of ‘I will‘? And best of all, feel good about saying it:

Like, I will NOT take on any more in 2017.  If you already feel overwhelmed, it’s ok to say no to the dealer. There is no shame in sticking with your current hand – it can still be a winner. You might want to drop a dress size or two, take on a new language, or simply find the time to do lots more crafting with the kids – but first, make sure you feel comfortable with what is already on your plate – or else all those other new spinning plates will come tumbling down like a circus act.

I will NOT feel guilty if I don’t get everything ticked off my list. Instead of focusing on what you don’t achieve, focus on what you do achieve each day – and give yourself a pat on the back. Remember to always leave some wiggle room in your ‘to do’ list – being flexible is good for the soul.

And last but not least, our favorite, I will NOT forget about myself in 2017. Say it. Now repeat it. Be selfish every now and then and take time for yourself, be it a book, a bath, a spa, or even a whole weekend away. There is no greater investment than an investment in yourself- a recharged you makes a happier you, a happier parent and a happier year!

So c’mon, 2017! We’re ready for you. Just as we are.

 

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A Rose By Any Other Name

Experts are predicting a ‘full-blown baby naming revolution’ this coming year, with names that will ‘defy convention’, boast unique spellings and also ‘non-traditional gender identities.’

We’ll be seeing names like Thor, Jupiter, Luna, and Pandora drawn from multicultural mythology; names of feminist heroines like Ada (Lovelace), Emmeline (Pankhurst), Bell (Hooks), Eleanor (Roosevelt), Rosa (Parks); a rise in preppy names like Oakes, Collins, Anderson, Kensington and Winchester; and a whole heap of names beginning with the letter ‘O’ – Octavia, Oakley, Orson, Otis, Omar and Otto.

See any you like? The full list of 2017 names can be found here:

Some people just know don’t they? They have a name picked out even before conception. Others wait to meet their new bundle before settling on a name.  And while there is no right or wrong way to pick a baby’s name, there is definitely a lot of pressure that comes with the territory. After all, it’s just a little something you are giving them…FOREVER! Eek!

On top of the pressure, there’s also those suggestions (perhaps guilt trips) from family and friends, not to mention their unwanted reactions when you test drive a few current contenders with them. Prepare for brutal honesty and crushing disappointment!

While we believe the most important thing is absolutely to choose a name that YOU love, we also believe that everyone can always use a few objective pointers. Here are a few simple considerations to keep in mind:

  • How original is your chosen name? Is it so unique that you risk mispronunciations and a lifetime of your child correcting how others say it/spell it? How would you have felt with that?
  • Have you checked what the initials of your child’s name will make….for example Anthony Adam Stevens (ASS) or Robert Sole aka Mr. R Sole….Oops!
  • Are you happy with how the first name can be shortened? Does it rhyme with anything unfortunate? Kids at school will always be creative!
  • Does the name age well? Princess might be a cute name when they are small, but imagine them in a job interview or running a board meeting with that name.
  • Have you checked the meaning of the name? Make sure you are happy with what your name represents as well as how its sound.
  • Finally, don’t feel pressurised to take a family name. If you don’t like it, don’t take it. But first have a quick think, could you use it as a middle name to appease? Or even use the relative in question’s own middle name as an alternative? It’s worth exploring all options before an outright dismissal, right?

Good luck to all those parents-to-be out there making a shortlist! We look forward to seeing what the 2017 revolution brings!

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Choosing Safe Toys for All Ages

Is it just us, or does your holiday gift list seem to keep growing each year?

There’s all those 2016 babies that your family and friends have brought in to the world; all those new ‘best friends’ that your little ones have made; perhaps even new kids in the neighborhood to buy for now.

Despite best intentions, there aren’t always enough hours in the day to keep on top of the list, meaning there is always an inevitable last minute gift dash, be it in-store or online.

With thousands of toys to choose from, and budgets to be mindful of, it’s tempting to just grab the first bargain you see. But, is it going to be safe?

And are the toys your own kids receive going to be safe?

The truth is, toys can pose serious health risks if they aren’t properly made or designed. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were about 254,200* toy-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments in 2015 – 73 percent happened to children under the age of 15 and 35 percent happened to children under the age of 5.

With this in mind, here are some toy buying, and toy receiving, tips for the holiday season:

  • Check the toy for age, skill level, and developmental appropriateness before purchasing, or before allowing them to be played with
  • Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off. Toys should have no sharp edges and be sturdy enough to withstand impact without breaking, being crushed, or being pulled apart
  • Look for safety inspection labels – “ATSM” means the toy has met the American Society for Testing and Materials standards
  • For children under three, avoid toys with small parts which can cause choking. This includes magnets, deflated balloons and button batteries. Rule of thumb: If the piece can fit inside a toilet paper roll, it is not appropriate for kids under age three
  • Do not give toys with ropes and cords or heating elements
  • If you are going to buy sports equipment for older kids, always accompany it with protective gear: e.g helmet (sized to fit) and kneepads with a skateboard. Or if budget doesn’t allow, speak to the parents about the additional safety purchases needed before use
  • Be aware of lead in toys and educate yourself not only about the type of toys that have been recalled / those most likely to contain lead in the paint, but also the symptoms of lead poisoning
  • Do not give crayons and markers unless they are labeled “nontoxic”.

If you are worried, confused, or simply stuck on ideas for age appropriate holiday toys, then please pop in to our Boutique, where our girls will be more than happy to help you complete that ever growing gift list!

*Cuts, scrapes, and bruises were the most common toy-related injuries, with most injuries affecting the head or face. Out of a total of 50 categories of toys, non-motorized scooters were involved in one out of every four injuries

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