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Do YOU feel judged when your baby cries in public?

64% of new mothers report receiving disapproving looks and

negative comments when their child is distressed.

  • 41% of mothers endure stares from strangers
  • 61% struggle with newborn’s crying
  • Elderly have worst reaction to crying babies
  • 90% say they’ve never received offers of help from the public

The majority of British mothers will have experienced it at least once in their life but the public has low tolerance for struggling new mums and little sympathy for crying babies, according to the latest research.

A new survey found that 64 per cent of new mothers report public disdain of their distressed newborns including open criticism, and even direct confrontation.

And it seems that the public do not hide their disapproval of crying children, with 41 per cent of new mums enduring stares from strangers, 36 per cent suffering disapproving looks, 27 per cent receiving disapproving sounds such as ‘tutting’, and 19 per cent overhearing negative comments.


Shockingly, one in twenty mothers has been directly confronted by strangers about their baby’s cries.

The research reveals the elderly have the worst reaction to crying babies (29 per cent), followed by the middle-aged (23 per cent), according to new mums.

Despite most being openly criticised, 90 per cent say they have never received offers of help from the public. It therefore comes as no surprise that 42 per cent say they feel at their most alone after giving birth. 

Almost two thirds (61 per cent) of new mums feel they struggle to cope with their baby’s crying, with over a third feeling powerless (38 per cent) or ‘not a good mother’ (34 per cent), and around a quarter experiencing panic (24 per cent) and worry (28 per cent).


Almost a fifth (18 per cent) report feelings of depression and around a third (32 per cent) said they felt embarrassed or ashamed about how they were coping. 

If coping with a crying newborn wasn’t hard enough, 79 per cent of new mums struggle with lack of sleep, losing on average three hours a night.

More than a third also struggle with breastfeeding (37 per cent), changes to their body (35 per cent) and almost a third feel under pressure to lose baby weight (31 per cent).

Over half of new mums reveal they pretend to cope better than they actually are and almost half of mums (47 per cent) agree that more help and support is needed in the weeks after having their child.

Speaking about the research commissioned by Colief Infant Drops, parenting psychologist, Alison Knights said: ‘No one feels 100 per cent prepared for the arrival of a baby. It’s a learning curve and “good enough parenting” is what helps babies thrive, so new mums should not be hard on themselves for not always getting it right.


‘Some babies will cry more than others, particularly the one in five that suffer with colic – a sign being excessive crying in an otherwise healthy baby. If you suspect this, then speak to your health visitor or pharmacist.

‘Remember, having a baby is a major transition which requires a lot of emotional hard work from all concerned.’


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