British babies cry more than those born in other parts of the world

We look at the results of this new study and suggest ways to help.

Pregnancy news, 04/04/17

British babies have been making headlines this week after a new study has found that babies born in Britain cry more than babies born in other parts of the world.

The report, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, says that Danish, German and Japanese babies cry the least, while babies born in Italy, Britain and Canada cry the most.

The research looked into how long babies cry per 24 hours across different cultures around the world. They found that on average, babies cry for around two hours per day in the first two weeks and peak at two hours and 15 minutes at six weeks.

Professor Dieter Wolfe says, ‘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 [study 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.'

While it’s interesting that the study suggest that cultural factors could impact how content a baby is, it is, of course, natural for babies to cry. There could be all sorts of reasons for your baby to cry - he could be hungry, overtired, wanting your attention, or feeling discomfort from wind. If the crying happens around the time of feeds, it could be colic or wind, or it could be a change of temperature, an unfamiliar smell or a range of other causes.

We recommend keeping baby close – often they may just want cuddling. Responding to your baby’s cries for food and comfort will help him to feel safe and secure. Holding your baby when he is crying will also help him to feel loved, even if he doesn’t stop crying straight away. And while co-sleeping can be tempting for babies that won’t settle on their own, it’s important to remember these safer sleep guidelines to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

The sound of a baby crying can be very distressing to parents. Some say it seems as if a baby has been crying for half an hour when in reality it’s only been a minute or two. Talk to your midwife or GP if your baby isn’t settling, especially if there are any other symptoms and you are concerned that your baby may be unwell. Take note of how your baby crying could be affecting your mental health and don’t hesitate to seek support if you are struggling. You may find it helpful to contact Cry-sis for specialist advice and support during this time.

And remember – it won’t always be like this!

More on after the birth

  • A breast pump.


    Expressing milk is a way of extracting milk from the breast, and this can be done by hand or by using a pump.

  • Yawning baby.

    Coping with sleepless nights

    It’s really hard to stay cheerful if you’re being woken up every couple of hours every night. Try to remember that it won’t last too long.

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