PHYSICAL COMFORT Physical comfort means the absence of excessive cold, heat or unpleasant stimulation. Excessive stimulation might be a noisy environment or irritated skin. Physical comfort is particularly important in health and social care settings for clients who are unable to control their own environment. Babies rely totally on their carers (usually a parent) to look after them and make sure they are physically Babies crying Recommendations Avoid over-stimulating the baby with too much Common causes of excessive crying activity or new experiences, and try to introduce include: some sort of routine, eg with a regular evening bathtime and quiet bedtime. Hunger Tiredness Traditional strategies, such as holding, carrying, rocking, cradling or walking with the baby are still Colic firm favourites. ‘White noise’, such as a detuned Trapped wind radio on a low volume, the sound of a vacuum Wet or soiled nappy cleaner or a washing machine, can also act as Too hot or cold enough of a distraction to interrupt the tears. Wants bodily contact or your attention Sucking can give relief to babies with colic - you may wish to try offering your (clean) little finger, or Boredom or over-stimulation. a sterilised dummy. There are medicines available for the treatment of colic, which either work to ‘mop Trust your instincts - if your baby will up’ tiny bubbles of trapped wind in the gut or break not stop crying, and this is unusual, down the lactose in the milk to aid digestion. s/he may be unwell and should be However, success is varied and the colic may not stop until the baby’s digestive system matures seen by a doctor if discomfort sufficiently at around three to four months. continues. There may be other signs of illness, such as a high temperature, If the crying is becoming intolerable, arrange to pale skin, sickness or diarrhoea. leave the baby in the care of a trusted family member or friend, or put the baby safely in the cot while you take some time out away from the noise. Take turns with your partner to share night duties, so that the disruption to your own sleep is minimised as much as possible.