What is normal crying for babies from 0 to 3 months?

New research on nearly 9,000 crying babies has enabled scientists to create a chart showing normal vs excessive crying. Here's what the results show for newborns up to 3 months...

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When you’re a new parent, often the issue of what’s ‘normal’ for your baby, especially around sleeping and crying, comes in to play a fair bit.

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So we found this scientific chart showing how much babies cry from 0 to 3 months really interesting. It’s based on a study by Kingston University and Warwick University, which looked at the crying behaviour of 8,700 babies in

  • Italy
  • Canada
  • UK
  • Netherlands

From the research, the experts were able to put together a graph showing how many minutes per day babies cried at various stages from birth to 3 months.

So how much do newborns cry on average?

According to the 2017 study:

  • It’s normal for babies aged 1 to 2 weeks to cry for 120 minutes per day 
  • Crying for 165 minutes per day is more unusual
  • Crying for 200 to 225 minutes per day is considered a high level.

So, 2 hours is normal, 3 hours is less usual and 3.5 hours+ is considered high. 

How much do babies aged 10 to 12 weeks cry on average?

According to this study:

  • Crying for 65 minutes per day is normal
  • Crying for 105 minutes per day is more unusual
  • Cying for 125 to 145 minutes per day is considered a high level.

We already know that babies are said to have colic when they cry for more than 3 hours (180 minutes) more than 3 times per week.

But this chart breaks down the numbers by weekly age and could be a really helpful guide in working out whether your baby is crying excessively or it’s just normal tears.

Babies cry more for first 6 weeks

“Overall, cry durations were high across the first 6 weeks of life and then reduced significantly over the following 6 weeks,” says Professor Muthanna Samara, who led the study.

“We’ve produced a chart based on our figures that clinicians and parents can rely on to see if their babies are crying more than average.  

“If the baby is not crying within the expected range this may indicate that they need to seek an assessment or seek medical advice or support.”

He does point out that the study was only carried out in 4 countries, and hopes research might be expanded in future, saying:

“What’s considered high levels of crying in the countries we’ve studied may be normal elsewhere.

“We need to take into account different countries and their cultures.”

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