Ever since we announced we were going to have a second and it came out it was going to be a boy, I was relentlessly told that "boys are fussier than girls" when they are a baby. I wasn't inclined to believe such nonsense. It was all anecdotal evidence seasoned with the classic "everyone knows that..." argumentum ad populum.

Our boy was born and he is definitely more fussy than our daughter was. At the same time, he is also less colicky than she was. They were/are both healthy babies, growing normally, getting fed, clothed, and changed but it seems like, while she was able to be alone by herself for periods of time while we finished up the dishes or hung the laundry, he cannot stand being putting down.

Keeping in mind that fussy, in this instance, is clearly defined as "fastidious about one's needs" and "hard to please" do studies exist that investigate the idea that boys tend to require more attention from a parent while girls require less? If they do, what was the conclusion of that study?

  • Everyone's different. Some infants, regardless of sex, are very fussy. Some are absolutely not. My brother and I (boys) as infants were apparently not fussy at all. A few of my cousins (girls) were very fussy. – Doc May 30 '14 at 14:17
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    How do you objectively measure fussiness? – user420 May 30 '14 at 14:18
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    @Beofett - decibels? – user3143 May 30 '14 at 15:28
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    @Noah - I found studies – user3143 May 30 '14 at 20:35
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    @Noah, "fussy" is clearly defined and also quantifiable. Length of time before requiring parental attention, time it takes to console, the reason for needing to be consoled, frequency. I'd say those are pretty good metrics to start with. I've updated my questions to clarify what I am looking for. – SomeShinyObject May 31 '14 at 1:49

Shergill-Bonner, R (2010). "Infantile colic: practicalities of management, including dietary aspects.". The journal of family health care 20 (6): 206–9. PMID 21319674:

Colic... occurring at the same rate in boys and in girls (cite via Wikipedia)

Another one:

According to a 2010 study by Miranda A. L. Van Tilburg, Marielle L. Unterberg, and Ad J. J. M. Vingerhoets, published in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology, no difference in terms of crying frequency can be noted among babies and young children.


Sorry I have no studies, only my own example...

I have two girls and one boy. The boy as a baby was exhausting! I basically carried him around everywhere for six months without putting him down (thanks baby wrap!), he would be upset for the slightest thing, he didn't like car, he didn't dark, he didn't like mummy sleeping. Let's face it, he was a pain. >.<

But now he is the nicest of all. A sweet smart cheerful boy.

My two girls were nice easily-contented baby, especially the last one. That last girl was a dream of a baby. No lies, she started to sleep through the night when she was three week old. She would be happy in anyone's arms, she didn't mind playing alone when mummy was cooking, she didn't mind the car, she didn't mind going to day care, she was a smily easy baby. And now (she is three) she is a little monster. >.<

It's hard, but your boy will grow fast.

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