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Right-handed Baby vs. Left-handed Baby

So ever since Little Man arrived in the world, we have been wondering whether he’s going to be right-handed or left-handed. I’m right-handed, but there are lots of lefties in my family. And my husband is sort-of left-handed (he writes and eats with his left hand but uses his right hand for racquet sports in an ambidextrous sort of way).

I was initially convinced Little Man was a leftie-in-waiting, because at first it always seemed like he flailed around at us/hit his dad in the face with his left hand. Then, about two days after I’d mentioned this to my husband, he suddenly switched and started using his right hand more instead. Then he went into a phase of really switching from preferring one hand one day, and the other hand the next. So I started to wonder – at what age does our dominant hand become fixed?

So I started Googling, and found a stack of contradictory information. Some places say hand preference is set by 5 – 6 years. Others say it’s set by 18 months. This article, on the other hand, says that “Hand preference is the product of multifaceted developmental processes that begin before birth and expand during early infancy”, which quite frankly is not the kind of simplistic answer I was looking for.

Different babies apparently develop hand preference at different rates, which makes sense, because they develop everything else at different rates too. Something that is interesting from the article I linked is that apparently left-handed preference doesn’t develop as strongly as right-handed preference, and they think that this could be at least partly due to right-handed mothers unconsciously engage their children’s right hands more during play. So now, I’m going to  try to make a special effort not to specifically pass objects to one or other of Little Man’s hands, but let him choose for himself.

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