Crying babies linked to behavioural problems

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Babies that are ‘difficult –who are constantly crying and have problems eating or sleeping – are likely to become difficult children...

Babies that are ‘difficult’ –who are constantly crying and have problems eating or sleeping – are likely to become difficult children.

New research has found that a fifth of babies have symptoms that are linked to serious behavioural problems in children, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

A review of 22 previous studies was carried out which compared the results of 117,000 babies and children and their eating, sleeping and crying habits.

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The group of international researchers found that there was a link between excessive crying and other risk factors and ADHD, anxiety, depression and aggressive behaviour in children later on in life.

They believe that a baby with more than one risk factor will be even more in danger of having problems when they grow up.

ADHD is a behavioural disorder and symptoms include hyperactivity, impulsiveness and a lack of concentration.

The condition is usually managed by Ritalin, a popular drug choice for the treatment of ADHD. In some cases it may even require special-needs schooling.

Professor Dieter Wolke from the University of Warwick was involved with the research, and said that the risk factors almost doubles the likelihood that unhappy babies would suffer from behavioural difficulties as toddlers and children.

However, experts are warning that parents shouldn’t necessarily be alarmed by the findings and that crying in babies is normal.

They also said that if, after three months a baby is still crying excessively, parents should discuss it with a midwife before rushing to a GP.

It was also discovered that parents of 20 per cent of babies are concerned about how much their child cries and their eating and sleeping patterns.

Professor Wolke did say however, that there was evidence to suggest that a well-regimented routine in a baby’s life was a possible solution for helping to calm difficult babies.

The results of the research have been published in the medical journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.


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