Babies in This Country Cry the Most -- but Why?

baby crying
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When you've got a crying newborn at home, it may provide a sliver of comfort to know that other babies are weeping and wailing just as much -- if not more -- all over the world. In fact, according to a recent study, newborns in some countries actually cry more than others. Interesting, right? So, what's making these wee ones so sad?


According to the research, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, babies in Britain, Canada, and Italy cry more than their counterparts who live in other parts of the world. The study analyzed data from 28 previous studies, which looked at nearly 8,700 infants, as well as the prevalence of the condition all parents and caregivers dread: colic.

The UK had the highest levels of colic -- around 28 percent of one- to two-week-old infants in the study were colicky. Canada came in second place, and Italy came in third.

And, just where are babies crying the least (and how quickly can you move there, you ask)? Denmark, Germany, and Japan were found to be the places where infants cry less often.

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Colic, a condition in which otherwise well-fed and well-cared-for babies cry for more than three hours a day for at least three days a week, can wear on parents' nerves and patience. It's often made worse by the fact that it seems unexplainable. For some parents, having a baby with colic is enough to cause them to say "That's a wrap!" and not have any more children. So, imagine if researchers were able to determine its cause and then find a way to prevent it. Lead researcher Professor Dieter Wolke of University of Warwick's department of psychology explained that looking into these studies about crying may be fruitful in helping parents with colicky babies.

"Babies are already very different in how much they cry in the first weeks of life -- there are large but normal variations. 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 noted in a press release.

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The study also explained that some of the variation in crying between countries could stem from factors such as social inequality, caregiving and maternal soothing techniques, and even feeding.

If there's some good news to come out of this, Wolke noted that crying tapers off as infants age. For example, babies cried for about two hours per day in the first two weeks, then reached their peak at approximately two hours and 15 minutes per day at six weeks. After that, it tapered gradually to an average of one hour and 10 minutes by the 12-week mark.

While it isn't entirely clear what caused these variations, scientists said there should be additional research into possible genetic and cultural influences. If the research means less crying, all parents would likely support that initiative.

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