How Do You Care For a Newborn’s Umbilical Cord?

These days’ parents have become very conscious about their baby’s umbilical cord. They keep searching for how to care for newborns’ umbilical cords. The umbilical cord is a tube-like structure that connects the baby to the mother’s placenta. You can consider it as a baby’s lifeline when it is inside you.

Parents have many questions like- what to do when the umbilical cord falls off or if there are any signs of umbilical cord infection. Well, yes there are a lot of things related to the umbilical cord and this blog will answer all your questions. This umbilical cord will only become your baby’s navel. So, check out the blog to know newborns’ umbilical cord care tips and infection signs.

What is an Umbilical Cord?

newborns umbilical cord care
newborns umbilical cord care

The umbilical cord is the most important tube-like structure, which helps to provide your baby with food and oxygen during the pregnancy phase. It also takes away the waste product of the baby, so that the mother’s body can get rid of them. After delivery, your baby no longer needs the cord, therefore, the doctor clamps it and cuts the cord.

Do not worry while clamping and cutting, your baby does not feel anything as the umbilical cord has no nerves. A small stump is left after it is cut, which falls down automatically once it gets dried. The stump can be anywhere from 0.5-1 inch.

In the starting, the stump may look yellow and shiny. But as it dries out, it will turn brown or purple or grey or even blue. The maximum time for the stump to fall out is 21 days. If it takes more time, it is better to consult a doctor.

Why baby has an umbilical cord stump?

The umbilical cord is very important during your pregnancy phase. It supplies oxygen and nutrients to your baby when the baby is inside you. After delivery, your baby no longer needs an umbilical cord. So, it is clamped and snipped, which leaves a short stump behind.

How does newborn’s umbilical cord care?

newborns' umbilical cord care

In ancient days, people used to tie a cloth around the umbilical cord, so that it remains safe. These days it has become a standard practice to keep the umbilical cord dry. Following are the ways to take care of a baby’s umbilical cord stump-

  • Keep it clean- If by chance, the stump gets dirty just dab it gently with a wet cloth and then pat the area with a dry, clean cloth. Do not use soap, as it can irritate the baby’s skin.
  • Let it be dry- It is necessary that you keep the stump dry by exposing it to air regularly.
  • Change diapers frequently- It is necessary that you keep changing the wet and dirty diaper frequently. Do not let the diaper leak upwards in the navel direction.

See more-  Things to follow when diapering newborns

  • Dress delicately- Do not put on dresses to your baby, which is too tight around the navel. Choose loose-fitting clothing which does not press the stump. Also, try to have more cotton clothing, so that air circulation is maintained.
  • Sponge baths- Give your baby a sponge bath, until the stump falls. After it is gone, you can give your baby a bath.
  • Do not touch or pull it- Never try to pull the stump also do not touch it again and again. Just a small mistake and the stump can start bleeding.

What to do when the umbilical cord falls off?

Most of the umbilical cord dries up before it falls off. Once it falls off, it leaves a cute belly button on your baby. But if you notice a small raw spot or blood oozing out, it is completely normal. Do not worry about it. But if the bleeding is more profuse, then it is better to call the doctor.

In many cases, the stump forms a reddish-pink scar tissue, which is called Umbilical granuloma. This can also secrete a yellowish discharge. This discharge should get cleared up in a week, but if it doesn’t. It is better to consult a doctor.

The umbilical cord usually comes off in three weeks and a maximum of six weeks.

Signs of Infected Umbilical Cord

Every parent and relative is very careful about the baby’s umbilical cord. After it is healed, the chances of getting it infected are reduced. But if it does, the condition is called Omphalitis.

Let’s understand some of the signs of Infected Umbilical Cord-

  • Foul smell
  • Low appetite
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Crying when you touch the cord
  • Discharge
  • Red skin or swollen skin
  • Bleeding         

Umbilical Cord Complications

There are two complications which can arise of Umbilical cord, and you should know about it-

  • Umbilical granuloma- After the stump gets fallen, many babies develop this umbilical granuloma. It is a small lump that is red or pink in color in the belly button. You can also see the lump oozing out.

This umbilical granuloma gets better on its own, so just make sure that the belly button is clean and dry.

  • Umbilical hernia- If you see swelling or bulging near the belly button, it can be an Umbilical hernia. It is easily noticeable when your baby strains for poo or cries. This hernia will go away when your child reaches the age of 3-5 years.           

Conclusion On newborns’ umbilical cord care

So, above are some of the ways for How to care for your newborns’ umbilical cord care. When it comes to taking care of the umbilical cord, less is always more. Just make sure to keep the stump dry, and avoid touching the stump again and again.

The umbilical cord healing process takes its own time. You need to be patient and once it’s done, everything will be normal. If you feel the stump is taking a long time to detach, it is better to talk to a doctor.

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