Babies who persistently cry are more likely to become problem children with behavioural disorders, researchers say.

According to their study, around one in five infants is ‘difficult’, with excessive crying and problems sleeping and feeding – and many will go on to be difficult children.

It found babies with these issues were 40 per cent more likely to grow up to display unruly behaviour, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – ADHD.

ADHD covers a range of behavioural problems linked to poor attention span – including impulsiveness, restlessness and hyperactivity – for which children may require prescription drugs and special needs teaching.

Up to 400,000 British children are believed to have ADHD, with many continuing to experience problems as adults.

Researchers from Warwick University, the University of Basel in Switzerland, and the University of Bochum in Germany investigated whether behavioural problems in early infancy were linked to those in later childhood.

They carried out an analysis of 22 studies from 1987 to 2006 which involving a total of 16,848 children, of whom 1,935 showed problems in infancy.

The subjects were followed up to see if they displayed behavioural issues in childhood, including ADHD, anxiety, depression, withdrawal, aggression, destructive behaviour, temper tantrums and general conduct problems.

Researchers found infants with persistent crying, feeding or sleeping difficulties were 40 per cent more likely than well-behaved babies to have later behavioural issues – with the most likely result a diagnosis of ADHD and bad behaviour.

The report in the Archives of Disease in Childhood medical journal concluded that the more problems a baby had, the more likely he or she was to become a child with behaviour problems.

The study reported that parents of around 20 per cent of babies had concerns about their crying, sleeping, or feeding patterns.

Researcher Dieter Wolke of Warwick University said the problems in babies that led to later issues were abnormally severe.

For example, the study focused on babies who cried for more than three hours a day after the age of three months and babies who had persistent sleeping problems after eight months.

Professor Wolke said the solution for such babies was to give them more routine in their lives, adding: ‘We have evidence that  it works.’

Source: Daily Mail –