Baby Care

Umbilical Cord Care: Do’s and Don’ts for New Parents

Tips To Take Care Of Your Baby’s Umbilical Cord

Every mother is excited to hold her newborn baby. Just the sight of the little thing takes away the stress of having carried them for nine months and the childbirth pain.

In the midst of the excitement, it is easy to get confused about what to do with their umbilical cord.

Can you touch it? How often should it be cleaned? Do they feel pain when we touch it?

These are just some of the questions that mothers have especially those with newborns for the first time.

Well, in this article we will explore the dos and don’ts when it comes to taking care of your baby’s umbilical cord.

Why your baby has an umbilical cord stump in the first place

You probably know that during pregnancy, the umbilical cord is responsible for transporting nutrients and oxygen to the developing baby in the womb. Once the child is born, the umbilical cord is no longer needed and hence it is clamped and snipped. For this reason, a short stump is left behind which is easily noticeable.

How long will my baby have an umbilical cord stump?

The stump will dry up and drop off in about 7 to 21 days, leaving a small wound that may take a few days to heal.

The dos

Keep the stump dry

Alcohol swabs usually are used to clean the stamp after diaper changes. However, research has shown that too much alcohol can kill the bacteria that help the stamp to dry out and separate. The stamp will get wet when you are cleaning them. So what you do is expose the stump to the air to help dry out the base.

Use sponge baths

There is really no problem with the stump getting wet. As mentioned before, let it air dry when it happens. But you can avoid getting the stamp wet in the first place by using sponge baths. In this way, it will be much easier to keep the stump dry.

Let the stump fall off on its own

It is really tempting to pull off the stump yourself especially when the baby grows older and you can tell that the stump is about to come off. Resist this temptation and allow the stump to fall off on its own.

The don’ts

  • Don’t cover the stump with a diaper

The stump should be covered. When putting diapers on your newborn, keep the front of the diaper folded down. This will keep it from covering the stump.

  • Don’t pull off the stump even when it is hanging by the thread.

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When there’s a problem

It is usual to see blood near the stump as it heals and even after it falls off. There are times when there could be a more serious problem, for example:

  • Pus oozing out of the umbilical cord
  • Surrounding skin becomes red and swollen
  • A pink moist bump develops on the area
  • The cord hasn’t fallen off in three weeks

When you notice any of these signs, then you should see your doctor as soon as possible.

Don’t be bothered by the stump on your baby. It’s very normal and expected. Give it time to heal and avoid interfering with the healing process as this could result in infections.

Related: How Long Before Taking Newborn Out In Public