Average news for Australian parents: it seems our babies aren't the biggest criers in the world ... nor do they cry the least.
A study published in the Journal of Pediatrics analysed 28 previous studies looking at colic – that is, babies who cry more than three hours a day, three days a week – in nearly 8700 babies in industrialised countries.
What they found was that babies in Canada, the UK and Italy cry the most, while babies in Denmark, Germany and Japan cry the least.
Australia sits somewhere in the middle, along with the United States of America and the Netherlands.
All this data allowed Professor Dieter Wolke to create world-first universal charts for normal amount of crying for babies in the first three months of life. Babies cry, on average, around two hours a day in the first two weeks, peaking at two hours and 15 minutes around the six week mark. Crying then reduces to one hour and 10 minutes by week 12.
Some babies in the study cried for as little as 30 minutes in a day, while others really tested their parents with five hours of crying per day.
The current guidelines for testing whether a baby's crying is within the healthy range are called the Wessel criteria, which were formulated in the 1950s. But as childcare and the family unit has changed so markedly over the past 70 years, new guidelines are needed.
Professor Wolke told Science Daily, "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."