Are British babies the biggest criers in the world?

And could anxious parenting be part of the reason?


Having a colicky baby is no fun at all, but it might be some small comfort to know that you’re not alone.


Especially if you’re a mum living in the UK, where a new study has found babies cry on average more than a fair few other countries.

The research was carried out at the University of Warwick and looked at 8,700 babies in the UK, Italy, Netherlands, Japan, Denmark and Canada.

The highest levels of colic – defined as when a baby cries for more than 3 hours for at least 3 days a week – were found in Britain, Italy and Canada, with Germany and Japan having the lowest levels.

On average, according to the studies, babies cry for 2 hours a day in the first 2 weeks, then cry a bit more over the next few weeks and peak at 6 weeks, crying around 2 hours 15 minutes a day (though, of course, some babies cry a lot less a day, around 30 minutes, and some more, up to 5 hours.)

And when it comes to explaining the variations, Dieter Wolker, who led the study, said:

“Babies are already very different in how much they cry in the first weeks of life. We may learn more from looking at cultures where there is less crying – [including] whether this may be due to parenting or other factors relating to pregnancy experiences or genetics.”

One theory is that UK parents are more over-anxious than in other countries – and while in Britain we spend less time holding our babies, we’re also quicker to pick them up if they do cry, which might encourage them to do it more.

While the study hasn’t come up with any magic answers as to how to stop colic, it will be used to put together a universal crying chart – so that at least parents will be reassured that the amount their little one is crying is, actually, probably pretty standard.

What do you think?

How much did your baby cry? Would it be reassuring to know that, even if it seems a lot, others are going through it too?

Tell us in the comments below or over on Facebook

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