Cranky babies likely to grow into problem children

London: Does your baby cry persistently and have sleeping and feeding problems? Be careful, it may raise your child`s risk of developing behavioural disorders, scientists say.

A team of Swiss and German researchers found that cranky babies are 40 per cent more likely to grow into problem children and display unruly behaviours, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the Daily Mail reported.

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.

For their research, the team from Warwick University and Basel University in Switzerland and the University of Bochum in Germany, carried out an analysis of 22 studies from 1987 to 2006 which involved 16,848 children.

Of them a total of 1,935 babies, or about one in five, is "difficult", with excessive crying and problems sleeping and feeding.

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.

It was found that 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 researchers, who detailed their findings in the medical journal `Archives of Disease in Childhood`, concluded that the more problems a baby had, the more likely he or she was to become a child with behaviour problems.

The study also found 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".