Caring For Your Newborn’s Umbilical Cord Stump
Umbilical cord connects the placenta to the baby through an opening of the baby’s abdomen. It is through placenta that the baby receives nutrition and oxygen in the womb. After birth, this cord is cut close to the baby’s body thereby leaving a stump. Umbilical stump takes around 2-3 weeks to dry and drop off and till then, the stump requires proper care.
The first thing to remember is that the stump needs to be kept clean and dry in order to hasten the process of its falling off and also to prevent any possible infections. The cord doesn’t have any nerves so the cleaning process won’t hurt the baby.Antiseptic is commonly prescribed for this purpose.
Cleaning The Umbilical Cord Stump
First, the baby needs to be lied down on a firm and level surface.Thereafter the diaper needs to be changed if dirty and when replaced with a cleaner one it should be tucked in such a way so that it doesn’t cover the stump.
A small amount of antiseptic has to be taken in a cup and cotton swabs dipped into it.
Holding the stump with 2 fingers and gently pulling it upward, the entire stump as well as the area where it is attached to the skin has to be wiped clean with those cotton swabs.
After cleaning, the used supplies should be disposed off. The baby should be dressed up and put in its bed.
Things To Remember While Cleaning the Umbilical Cord Stump
Until the stump falls off, the baby should not be given tub bath as the stump needs to be kept dry all the time. As an alternative, the baby can be given sponge bath.
A little crusting or dried blood near the stump is normal.
Resist the urge to pull off the cord even if it seems to be hanging by a little thread.
If the stump doesn’t fall off even after 3 weeks from birth, the doctor should be consulted.
Umbilical Cord Stump Complications
At times little complications may arise regarding the stump which may call for medical care.
Omphalitis – If there is a lot of foul smelling discharge from the stump along with redness, swelling or tenderness in the adjoining skin around it, it could be omphalitis which should be treated immediately.
Umbilical granuloma – Sometimes bits of pinkish lumpy flesh remain after the stump falls off. The area may show redness, swelling and also at times yellow-green discharge. These are just umbilical granuloma which are not serious and can be easily treated.
Persistent bleeding – Though a little dried blood around the stump is normal, if there is persistent bleeding it may denote a clotting problem which requires immediate medical attention.
After the cord falls off, a small pinkish area is noticed in the bottom of the belly button which doesn’t resemble the rest of the skin. It is normal and normal skin soon grows over it.