Researchers have found that babies in Britain, Canada and Italy cry more than elsewhere. The same study found that babies who lived in Denmark (the world’s second-happiest country), Germany and Japan cried the least.
Researchers analysed data on almost 8,700 infants taking part in previous studies to look at how common colic was in the first three months of life of babies around the world.
The paper, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, suggested that the reasons for differences between countries could range from social inequality to how mums soothe babies and feeding patterns.
“Babies are already very different in how much they cry in the first weeks of life – there are large but normal variations,” lead researcher, Prof Dieter Wolke from University of Warwick’s department of psychology told The Guardian.
“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.”
On average, babies cried for around two hours a day in the first two weeks after birth. And crying peaked at about two hours 15 minutes per day at six weeks, before reducing to an average of one hour 10 minutes.
What are the signs of colic?
Just because your baby cries, doesn’t mean she’s got colic. Colic is the name for excessive bouts of crying in an otherwise healthy baby. It often starts when the baby is a few weeks old and tends to be at its worst late afternoon and evening, when it can last for several hours.
While everyone agrees colic exists, no-one actually knows what causes it. Some doctors think it’s a type of stomach cramp, which is why you might notice your baby draw her knees up to her tummy or arch her back. Your baby may also clench her fists, and get flushed red cheeks.
How to help your baby
The truth is that there’s no one treatment, technique, medicine or pixie dust to solve colic in every baby – but there are some tips you can try that may help …
Cuddle up. Often the act of gently rocking her over your shoulder, or gently rubbing her back or tummy, can help burp her and relieve some of her discomfort. Try giving different positions to see if that helps ease her distress – cradling her in your arms, or the ‘tiger in the tree’ position where she lies along your arm facing down.
Run a bath. A warm bath followed by a gentle massage may also help calm her down.
Make some noise. Some mums say that white noise – such as the sound of a washing machine, vacuum cleaner or radio static – can soothe a colicky baby. (No-one says you actually have to do the cleaning – just switch it on!)
Go out for a walk Babies love movement, so pop her in her pram and head out for a stroll. Middle of the night? You can always wheel her around the garden if you don’t fancy braving the streets in your PJs.
This article originally appeared on Netmums.