Babies are a focus of social interest

Babies are a focus of social interest
Left, chimpanzees grooming an infant, photographer: Michel Gunther © World Wildlife Fund. Right, «Baby shower planning». Source: The Baby Centre. Public domain

Babies are a focus of social interest

Both chimpanzees and people show much interest in babies. Chimpanzee will groom the hair of the mother in order to get closer to her infant. Much infant interest is benign and fosters social cohesion, but sometimes an adult female will kidnap the infant and withhold from the mother even if the infant is in distress. Human interest in babies is universal across all cultures of the world. Interest often precedes the birth, and many cultures have pre-birth ritual, ceremonies, and rites of passage to celebrate the mother’s impending new status. The «baby shower» may be a modern version of ancient rituals from India, Egypt, Greece, Rome, and Medieval Europe that were designed to promote a healthy birth for both mother and new-born. [Barry Bogin]