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Babies in Britain top ‘crying chart’

Babies cry more in Britain than almost anywhere else in the industrialised world, new research has shown


The UK, along with Canada, Italy and the Netherlands, came top in an international baby bawler survey conducted by scientists.

Researchers analysed data on almost 8,700 infants taking part in previous studies to find out how upset babies in different countries get in their first 12 weeks.

The biggest cry babies were found to be in the UK, Italy, Canada and the Netherlands, while lowest crying levels were seen in Denmark, Germany and Japan.

On average, babies cried for around two hours per day in the first two weeks after birth.

Crying peaked at about two hours, 15 minutes per day at six weeks before gradually reducing to an average of one hour, 10 minutes.

Lead researcher Professor Dieter Wolke, from the University of Warwick, who has compiled the first universal “crying chart” for babies aged under three months, said: “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 three months or shows excessive crying which may require further evaluation and extra support for the parents.”

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

Lowest colic rates were reported in Denmark (5.5% at 3-4 weeks) and Germany (6.7% at 3-4 weeks).

The findings are to be published in the Journal of Pediatrics.

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