Parents struggling with a wailing baby can rest assured they are not alone – British babies cry more than in a number of other industrialised countries, a study suggests.
While the exact reason why UK infants cry so much is not clear, researchers suggest that parents in Britain may be ‘quicker to respond’ to their children, making them less likely to calm themselves, Daily Mail reports.
And other countries may give babies more ‘skin-to-skin’ contact which is thought to be soothing to children.
The first attempt to create a universal crying chart has found that babies Canada and Italy cry more than those elsewhere apart from Britain.
Researchers at the University of Warwick’s psychology department analysed research from around the world.
The lucky parents who endure the least crying from their newborn babies are in Denmark, Germany and Japan, according to the research, published in the Journal of Pediatrics.
Globally babies cry for around two hours per day in their first two weeks on average, the study suggests.
Crying peaks at two hours 15 mins at six weeks before reducing to one hour 10 minutes by week 12, according to the findings.
But some babies were found to cry for as little as 30 minutes – and others for more than four hours – per day.
Professor Dieter Wolke analysed studies involving 8,700 infants across countries including Germany, Denmark, Japan, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK.
He then calculated how long babies fuss and cry over a twenty four hour period.
Detailing the highest levels of crying, Dr Wolke found that among babies aged up to nine weeks 34.1 per cent of Canadian babies cried for more than three hours a day for at least three days a week, 28 per cent of UK infants, 20.9 per cent of Italian babies.
In contrast just 5.5 per cent of Danish babies cry for more than three hours a day, and only 6.7 per cent of German babies.
‘They found Danish parents are a little bit more relaxed in their behaviour and less likely to respond to babies immediately, encouraging the baby to calm itself.
‘They have more bodily, skin-to-skin contact than parents in the UK, which might help soothe infants. Danish parents may have more social support due to different shared parental leave arrangements.
‘About 40 per cent of babies’ crying in the first three months is hard to soothe and won’t change no matter what strategies they try.