British babies cry more in their first few weeks than children in most other countries, a study has suggested.
While the exact reason is not clear, researchers suggest that British parents may be "quicker to respond" to their children, making the infants less likely to calm themselves.
And other countries may give babies more "skin-to-skin" contact, thought to be soothing.
Researchers at the University of Warwick’s psychology department analysed research from around the world. Babies cry for around two hours a day in their first two weeks on average, peaking at two hours 15 mins by the time they are six weeks old. It then drops to one hour 10 minutes by week 12, they found.
But some babies sobbed for as little as 30 minutes – and others more than four hours – per day. Professor Dieter Wolke analysed studies of 8 700 infants from across the world and calculated how long babies fuss and cry for over 24 hours.
Although babies cry most in Canada, those from the UK are second. They are followed by Italy and the Netherlands, while Denmark, Germany and Japan had the lowest levels.
Dr Wolke found that among those up to nine weeks, 34.1 percent of Canadian babies cried for more than three hours a day for at least three days a week, compared with 28 percent of UK infants and 20.9 percent of Italian babies.
In contrast, just 5.5 percent of Danish babies cry for more than three hours a day, and only 6.7 percent of German babies. Dr Wolke said: "There are several previous studies which might explain why babies in Denmark cried so much less than those in the UK. They found Danish parents are a little bit more relaxed in their behaviour and less likely to respond to babies immediately, encouraging the baby to calm itself.
"They have more bodily, skin-to-skin contact than parents in the UK, which might help soothe infants. Danish parents may have more social support due to different shared parental leave arrangements. Another factor may be differences in population genetics, as in some countries people tend to be more introverted and calmer...
"People who travel to Japan often comment on how the babies can calm themselves ... which may be genetic." But he explained: "About 40 percent of babies’ crying in the first three months is hard to soothe and won’t change no matter what strategies parents try."