Babies who experience regulatory disorders have a higher risk of developing behavioural problems in later life, a study has suggested.
Infants who persistently cry and have difficulties with sleeping or feeding may have an increased chance of being affected by conditions such as ADHD, according to a meta analysis carried out by scientists from Warwick University.
The researchers worked with colleagues at the University of Basel in Switzerland, and the University of Bochum in Germany to analyse 22 studies carried out between 1987 and 2006.
Their findings, printed in the Archives of Disease in Childhood journal, revealed that the more types of regulatory disorder suffered by a child, the higher their risk of later having behavioural problems.
Around 20% of all babies experience excessive crying, sleeping difficulties and feeding problems, the researchers added.
The authors said in the study: "Regulatory problems in infancy can increase the likelihood of developing behaviour problems in childhood.
"Our findings highlight the need for prospective follow-up studies of regulatory disturbed infants and require reliable assessments of crying, sleeping or feeding problems.
"The evidence from this systematic review suggests that those with persisting regulatory problems in families with other problems may require early interventions to minimise or prevent the long-term consequences of infant regulatory problems."