The crying and wailing of babies is normal, but extremely taxing for parents during the first few months. However, a new study reveals that the level of crying in babies differs from place to place.
Researchers at the University of Warwick, UK, prepared the world's first crying chart, which determines the amount of crying a baby does in its first three months.
The Universal Crying Chart
To determine the colic levels of babies hailing from different countries, researchers conducted a meta-analysis on 28 studies. These studies were conducted previously and observed 8,700 infants. Colic is defined as a baby crying more than three hours a day, for over three days a week.
The study found that British, Canadian, and Italian babies cry more than infants from any other country. It was also discovered that only Canadian babies cry more than British ones.
According to the research, the lucky parents who have to deal with minimum amount of crying hail from Germany, Japan, and Denmark.
The study also stated that the British babies have the highest levels of colic — at 28 percent for infants aged one or two weeks. Canada has a colic level of 34.1 percent for three- to four-week old babies. Italy comes third with a colic level of 20.9 percent for eight- to nine-week old infants.
The lowest colic rates for infants aged three to four weeks were recorded in Denmark at 5.5 percent, with Germany close on its heels with 6.7 percent.
Studies showed that babies generally cry for nearly two hours a day during the first two weeks. This increases to nearly 135 minutes a day in the sixth week. However, the crying gradually subsides to nearly 70 minutes on an average by the 12th week.
"Babies are already very different in how much they cry in the first weeks of life - there are large but normal variations," said Dieter Wolke, the lead researcher of the study.
Variations In Colic Rates: What Is Responsible?
The study suggests that several reasons can be responsible for the colic level variations noticed in different countries. The colic levels could vary because of differences in social inequality, caregiving styles, feeding systems, and maternal soothing techniques.
Mixed or bottle feeding was observed to be linked with reduced time span of colic in infants aged three to four weeks.
Previous studies suggested that nearly 40 percent crying babies are inconsolable. According to Wolke, many new parents get stressed for no reason primarily because of useless solutions unrealistic parenting books offer.
He further added that the new list of crying babies will be an advantage for doctors in industrialized countries. It will aid the physician in confirming to parents whether their baby is crying within the normal expected range during the first three months, or excessively.
If the colic duration is deemed beyond the normal range, doctors will provide necessary support to parents, as well as give requisite attention to the baby to determine the cause behind the excessive crying.
The study has been published in the Journal of Pediatrics.