Babies cry most in UK, Canada, Italy and Netherlands

April 3, 2017
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Babies cry more in Britain, Canada and Italy, than the rest of the world—according to new research by the University of Warwick.

Professor Dieter Wolke in the Department of Psychology has formulated the world's first universal charts for the normal amount of crying in during the first three months.

In a meta-analysis of studies involving almost 8700 infants—in countries including Germany, Denmark, Japan, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK—Professor Wolke calculated the average of how long babies fuss and cry per twenty-four hours across different cultures in their first twelve weeks.

On average, it was found that babies cry for around two hours per day in the first two weeks. Crying generally peaks at around two hours fifteen minutes per day at six weeks—and reduces gradually to an average of 1 hour 10 minutes by the twelve week mark.

However, some infants were found to cry as little as 30 minutes, and others over 5 hours, in twenty-four hours.

Babies cry the most in the UK, Italy, Canada, and the Netherlands—and the lowest levels of crying were found in Denmark, Germany and Japan.

The highest levels of colic—defined as crying more than 3 hours a day for at least 3 days a week in a baby- were found in the UK (28% of infants at 1-2 weeks), Canada (34.1% at 3-4 weeks of age) and Italy (20.9% at 8-9 weeks of age).

In contrast, lowest colic rates were reported in Denmark (5.5% at 3-4 weeks) and Germany (6.7% at 3-4 weeks).

The current definitions for determining whether a baby is crying too much and suffering from colic, are the Wessel criteria, which were formulated in the 1950s.

As childcare and the family unit has largely transformed over the last half century and across different cultures, new universal guidelines were needed for modern parents and to assess normal and excessive levels of crying in babies.

Professor Wolke comments on what the research will lead to:

"Babies are already very different in how much they cry in the first weeks of life—there are large but normal variations. We may learn more from looking at cultures where there is less crying and whether this may be due to parenting or other factors relating to pregnancy experiences or genetics.

"The new chart of normal fuss/cry amounts in babies across industrialised countries will help health professionals to reassure parents whether a baby is crying within the normal expected range in the first 3 months or shows excessive crying which may require further evaluation and extra support for the parents."

The research, 'Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis: Fussing and Crying Durations and Colic Prevalence in Infants' will be published in The Journal of Pediatrics.

Explore further: Acupuncture may alleviate babies' excessive crying (infantile colic)

Related Stories

Acupuncture may alleviate babies' excessive crying (infantile colic)

January 16, 2017
Acupuncture may be an effective treatment option for babies with infantile colic—those who cry for more than 3 hours a day on 3 or more days of the week—reveals research published online in Acupuncture in Medicine.

Study examines probiotics to prevent or treat excessive infant crying

October 7, 2013
There still appears to be insufficient evidence to support using probiotics (Lactobacillus reuteri) to manage colic or to prevent crying in infants, especially in formula-fed babies, but it may be an effective treatment for ...

Preemies' 'excessive' crying tied to risk of behavior problems later

January 7, 2014
(HealthDay)—Premature babies who cry a lot may be more likely than other preemies to have behavior problems by the time they reach preschool, a new study suggests.

Could baby's tummy bacteria help spur colic?

January 14, 2013
(HealthDay)— Colic is a common problem for babies, and new research may finally provide clues to its cause: A small study found that infants with colic seemed to develop certain intestinal bacteria later than those without ...

Study links babies' colic to mothers' migraines

February 20, 2012
A study of mothers and their young babies by neurologists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has shown that mothers who suffer migraine headaches are more than twice as likely to have babies with colic ...

Manipulative therapies may be a beneficial treatment for infantile colic

December 11, 2012
A Cochrane review of studies into manipulative therapies for colic, by the University of Southampton, suggests that the treatment technique may be of some benefit.

Recommended for you

Is rushing your child to the ER the right response?

October 16, 2017
If a child gets a small burn from a hot pan, starts choking or swallows medication, parents may struggle to decide whether to provide first aid at home or rush them to the hospital, suggests a new national poll.

Happier mealtimes, healthier eating for kids

October 13, 2017
(HealthDay)—Parents who struggle to get their children to follow a healthy diet may want to make dinnertime a pleasant experience, new research suggests.

Children born prematurely have greater risk of cognitive difficulties later in life

October 11, 2017
Babies born preterm have a greater risk of developing cognitive, motor and behavioural difficulties and these problems persist throughout school years, finds a new study led by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

Helping preemies avoid unnecessary antibiotics

October 5, 2017
(HealthDay)—Researchers say they have identified three criteria that suggest an extremely premature infant has a low risk of developing sepsis, which might allow doctors to spare these babies early exposure to antibiotics.

Got a picky eater? How 'nature and nurture' may be influencing eating behavior in young children

October 3, 2017
For most preschool-age children, picky eating is just a normal part of growing up. But for others, behaviors such as insisting on only eating their favorite food item—think chicken nuggets at every meal—or refusing to ...

Anxious moms may give clues about how anxiety develops

September 27, 2017
Moms may be notorious worriers, but babies of anxious mothers may also spend more time focusing on threats in their environment, according to a team of researchers.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.