Canadian Babies Cry the Most, Study Says

British babies cry the most.
A nurse holds newborn Savio Warnakulasuriya in the nursery at Sandro Pertini hospital in Rome on June 16, 2013. A March 2017 study finds more babies suffering from colic live in the U.K., Italy and Canada. Tony Gentile/REUTERS

Although parents all over the globe have the difficult task of quieting a crying baby, moms and dads in Canada may have it the hardest: A study found that babies born in the North American country were found to cry more than babies in any other part of the world.

Researchers created a universal scale tracking which countries' babies cried the longest and loudest; they reviewed 28 past studies that observed the prevalence of colic in nearly 8,700 infants. During the study, researchers found colic, a harmless condition that causes babies to cry inconsolably, was most prevalent in Canadian, British and Italian babies.

The researchers focused on how much crying there was at the peak period of colic for each country's babies. More than 34 percent of Canadian babies three to four weeks old were found to cry for more than three hours a day, up to three days a week, while to 28 percent of U.K. infants one to two weeks old and 20.9 percent of Italian babies eight to nine weeks old cried for three hours or more for at least three days a week.

Babies in Denmark (5.5 percent at three to four weeks old) and German infants (6.7 percent at three to four weeks old) cried and fussed the least, in some instances as little as 30 minutes a day.

On average, babies cried for about two hours per day in the first two weeks of their lives, with the longest amount of crying accounting for two hours and 15 minutes per day at six weeks. Crying gradually reduced to an average of one hour and 10 minutes by the time an infant reached 12 weeks.

Authors of the study, which was published in the Journal of Pediatrics Monday, said differences in caregiving style, soothing techniques and feeding habits could be responsible for the varying instances of colic across the globe. For instance, a previous study, which analyzed the amount of time parents held an infant, found moms and dads in London had 50 percent less contact with their babies than "proximal parents," who were found to hold their children 80 percent of the time between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

However, researchers said the colic chart could be useful in assuring parents around the world that excessive crying would generally decrease after the first few weeks of an infant's life.

"The new chart of normal fuss/cry amounts in babies across industrialized countries will help health professionals to reassure parents whether a babies 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 parents," Dieter Wolke, a psychology professor at the University of Warwick who was involved in the study, said in a statement.