Who’s a happy baby? No, seriously, who?
We now know not only who’s a happy baby, but who the happiest babies are. Recent study results published in the Journal of Pediatrics have shown that Danish, German and Japanese babies cry less than babies elsewhere. In contrast, British, Canadian, and Italian babies are the biggest criers.
Denmark — often recognized for being the world’s best country to live in for women, having the second-happiest people and one of the best systems of health care — unsurprisingly also has the happiest babies according to this same study. Because they get everything.
Jessica Joelle Alexander, a Danish parenting expert and co-author of The Danish Way of Parenting, emphasizes the benefits Danish parents enjoy when raising their children. “The first year of a child’s life is considered so important in Denmark… Danish parents are much less stressed because they get good maternity and paternity leave.”
Good parental leave allows more quality time between parents and babies, establishing deep connections, more physical contact, as well as — obviously — less stress for parents.
Iben Dissing Sandahl, a co-author with Alexander, adds, “We are surrounded by social support and are less likely to become angry, sad or frustrated when our babies are crying… instead, we try to connect with the babies when they cry.”
So perhaps the secret to happier and possibly calmer babies is not trying to force them to be quiet when they cry. That’s a start, anyway. But the real secret is for parents to suffer from far less stress — and that happens when they’re allowed to be with their children, to enjoy reasonable leave without taking a financial hit, in a country that values the parent-child connection.