Babies cry most in UK, Canada and Italy; least in Denmark, Germany, Japan: Study

The study found that babies cry for around two hours per day in the first two weeks, peaking at around 2hr 15min per day at six weeks, and gradually reducing to an average of 1 hr 10 min by 12 weeks.
The study found that babies cry for around two hours per day in the first two weeks, peaking at around 2hr 15min per day at six weeks, and gradually reducing to an average of 1 hr 10 min by 12 weeks.PHOTO: REUTERS

Babies in the United Kingdom, Canada and Italy cry more than babies from the rest of the world, while those looking for relief from a wailing infant would probably do well in Japan or Germany, where babies cry least, a new study has revealed.

The meta-analysis of studies by the English University of Warwick, released on Monday (April 3), involved almost 8,700 babies in countries including Germany, Denmark, Japan, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Professor Dieter Wolke from the Department of Psychology calculated the average of how long babies fuss and cry per 24 hours in their first 12 weeks.

The study found that babies cry for around two hours per day in the first two weeks, peaking at around 2hr 15min per day at six weeks, and gradually reducing to an average of 1hr 10min by 12 weeks.

However, not all infants are equal - some were found to cry as little as half an hour, and others for more than five hours in a 24-hour period.

The biggest criers hailed from the UK, Italy, Canada and the Netherlands, while those who cried least were from Denmark, Germany and Japan.

The UK had among the highest levels of colic - which describes a baby crying for more than three hours a day for at least three days a week - at 28 per cent of infants, aged between one and two weeks.

For Canada, the percentage was 34.1 per cent of infants between three and four weeks old, while 20.9 per cent of the Italian babies studied, aged eight to nine weeks, had colic.

Only 5.5 per cent of the babies studied in Denmark had colic, while Germany saw 6.7 per cent.

Professor Wolke said infants are different, but "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".

He added that the chart of "normal" fussing and crying amounts in babies will also help health professionals reassure parents on whether their infant is crying within a normal expected range or require more evaluation.

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

According to SingHealth's website, there have been no preventive measures established yet for colic. The condition resolves itself spontaneously without any treatment by three to four months, said SingHealth on its site.