Taking care of your newborn baby’s umbilical cord until it falls off is very important. Improper care and ignorance can lead to infection.
When your baby is still in your womb, the only connection between the two of you is the umbilical cord. All the essential nutrients and oxygen needed to help your baby grow were carried in the blood that passed through this pipe. When the cord is cut at birth, your baby is left with a stump that is clamped and will fall off naturally after a week or two. This can be scary for new moms who may or may not know how to care for this odd-looking thing. If you are one of those moms, these suggestions will help you to approach the cord stump without fear:
1. Place Close Attention To The Base Of The Cord
Wipe the base of the cord, nearest to the belly button gently but thoroughly to clean out any moist debris that may have collected. A cotton-tipped applicator works well. You don’t have to worry about hurting your baby because there are no nerve endings in the cord stump.
2. Let The Air Reach The Stump
Let the stump see some air. This will help it heal and dry faster.
3. Prevent The Diaper From Rubbing Against The Stump
When dressing baby, fold the diaper down under the cord stump or you can use disposble diapers with a cut-out notch at the top.
4. Let The Cord Stump Fall Off Naturally
If it takes longer than the given time, don’t stress! In some cases it does take longer for the stump to fall. Just DON’T attempt to pull it off. If you’re worried, call your doctor for advice.
5. Be Careful While Bathing Your Baby
Many suggest that while your newborn still has their umbilical cord, it’s best to give them a sponge bath rather than submerging the cord stump in water. Once the cord has fallen off, you can give your baby their first full bath in a tub!
Warning Signs Of Infection
Sometimes things do go wrong and the umbilical cord stump might get an infection. Lookout for the following signs of an infection:
- Your baby develops a fever.
- The navel area smells bad or there is puss developing inside.
- The skin around the belly button becomes red and tender.
- Your baby cries when you touch the navel slightly.
- The stump gets swollen and blood oozes from it.
If you follow our tips above carefully, your baby’s umbilical cord will dry out and fall off within a couple of weeks. If you think something is wrong, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor.
By Thina Mthembu. Image: Istock.