New Charts Determine 'Normal' Amount of Crying Worldwide

All countries are not created equal.
ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
Apr 2017
crying newborn
Photo: iStock

When it comes to crying, what is “normal”? After all, every baby is different. For the first time, psychologists have created universal charts for what they consider the normal amount of crying in babies during the first three months. As you may have guessed, it changes over time.

On average, babies around the world cry for around 2 hours per day in first two weeks. The peak comes at six weeks: 2 hours 15 mins at per day. By week 12, crying scales back to 1 hour 10 minutes.

Photo: The Journal of Pediatrics

Spearheaded by Professor Dieter Wolke of the University of Warwick, a meta-analysis of studies involving nearly 8,700 infants averaged how long babies cry every day around the world.

Where do babies cry the most? The UK, Italy, Canada and the Netherlands.

Where do babies cry the least? Denmark, Germany and Japan.

Of course, outliers skew the data. Some babies only cry for a half hour each day. Others can scream for closer to five hours, far surpassing the three hours per day, three days per week indicative of colic.

Wolke explains that this data wasn’t calculated for you to pit your baby against others. Rather, he plans to use it to get to the bottom of why babies cry.

“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 says, adding that universal reference points can determine whether or not parents need additional help. “The new chart of normal fuss/cry amounts in babies across industrialized countries will help health professionals to reassure parents whether a baby 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 the parents.”

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