We have to admit, when we first saw this study, we inwardly groaned. Another breast vs bottle debate?! Haven't we done this to death already? Fed is best, and we support moms who bottle feed and moms who breastfeed equally and enthusiastically. Your baby needs to eat, and how they eat is 100% up to you. But then we read the study, and it's not what we were expecting. See, apparently researchers have determined that how you were fed as an infant can influence whether you're right - or left-handed! No shaming, no judgement, just good old-fashioned interesting (and somewhat pointless) science.
The study was conducted by the University of Washington and published in the journal Laterality: Assymetrics of Body, Brain, and Cognition. Researchers studied more than 60,000 mother and baby pairs - some were breastfed, some were bottle-fed. The participants hailed from five different countries around the world. What they discovered is kind of crazy. Bottle-fed babies were more likely to be left-handed than breastfed babies. According to the data, one out of five left-handed people could have been right-handed had they been breastfed for at least six months. Isn't that interesting?!
Babies who were breastfed for one month were 9% less likely to be left-handed. If they were breastfed for one to five months, their chances of being left-handed fell 15%. Babies breastfed for six months or longer were the least likely to be left-handed, with their chances falling 22%.
So how do researchers explain this phenomenon? It may have to do with the function of the left and right sides of our brains. Philippe Hujoel, the study’s author and dentistry professor at the UW School of Public Health, says that breastfeeding may optimize or influence the process the brain undergoes when deciding handedness. So in addition to some of the other benefits of breastfeeding, we suppose you can add this one? Although breastfeeding so you can have a right-handed child is a little extreme. Being left-handed is awesome, and lefties even get their own day! It's August 13, in case you're curious. Lefties are pretty rare, which is cool. Only about 10% of the population is left-handed! So embrace it, and certainly don't let it make you feel bad about how you feed your baby.