A new study shows that British babies cry more than babies almost anywhere else in the world. So, if like me, you spent most of the first few months of your baby’s life going, “Err…is it normal for them to be screaming this much?” Yes, apparently it is. Because Britain.
British babies join Canadian and Italian babies as the most compulsive criers, while Danish, German and Japanese babies cry the least. Around 28% of British babies have colic, which is defined as crying for more than three hours a day for at least three days a week.
So why are British babies so pissed off?
Anxious British parents?
According to the study, Danish and German parents are more relaxed and will let their babies cry for a minute or two before picking them up, while British parents fall over themselves to grab their babies at the first sign of distress.
Professor Dieter Wolke, who led the research, said, “It’s the same principal as going on a plane. You are told to put your own oxygen mask on before helping others. If you are not relaxed you are not going to be any use to your baby.”
I was definitely NOT relaxed during the first few months of the Popple’s life. Not at all. How could I have been? I wasn’t sleeping, my nipples were bleeding, my baby was screaming and I was spending far too much time thinking about, looking at and poking at poo. Little did I know that my very reasonable anxiety about, you know, being responsible for a helpless, tiny person, was potentially freaking my baby out. But if someone had come up to me then and said, “If you’re not relaxed you are not going to be any use to your baby,” I probably would have punched them in the face. And then cried. And then eaten an entire block of extra mature cheddar.
It was a pretty rough time.
Wolke admits that there might be some sort of genetic reason that Danish babies cry less and British babies cry loads. As I have a half-American, half-Puerto Rican baby, the genetic excuse doesn’t really fly in my case – unless I can blame my British great-great-grandparents for the fact that my baby cried pretty much non-stop for her first few months. In which case, thanks for nothing, ancestors.
The study suggests that experiences during pregnancy may explain the differences in crying, but I feel like the pregnancy experience is pretty universal no matter where you live.
I am fat.
I am tired.
I am SO EXCITED to meet my baby!
I am crying over a car insurance advert.
I am Googling ‘pooping during labour’.
I am pretty sure I have to pee again.
OH MY GOD, THERE’S A PERSON INSIDE ME.