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Tuesday, 14 August 2018

A Guide to Umbilical Stump Care for a Newborn

Ways To Take Care Of The Umbilical Stump Of Your Newborn Baby

Well, first of all, congratulations to you for being a mother. We know you are going to be a fantastic mom!

Being a mother is no less than a challenging assignment. After a child is born, the mother puts everything on hold to give all her time to her baby. Right before the baby is born until the time he or she sees the light of the world, the parents take no chances to risk the health of the baby. They do everything to make sure that their baby is always healthy and happy.

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A Guide to Umbilical Stump Care for a Newborn

Birthing is a complicated process. A baby, while in the mother’s uterus, is connected to her via the umbilical cord. It is through the umbilical cord that the baby gets oxygen and the vital nutrients from the mother. No doubt why the umbilical cord is called the thread of motherhood. However, after the baby is born, he or she does not need the umbilical cord any longer, and therefore it is first clamped and then snipped which leaves the umbilical stump in the baby’s belly button.

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Usually, the cord starts to dry and wither off by the time the baby is released from the hospital. Soon after, the snipped cord falls off generally in about two or three week’s time. However, is a baby's cord does not fall off within the three weeks you need not worry about it. At times, it can take a little longer for your baby, and that too is quite normal. Since the umbilical cord can lead to an infection, if not attended to, it becomes vital that you know how to take care of it properly.

How To Take Care Of Your Baby’s Umbilical Cord Before It Falls Off?

You become a mother only after your child is born and from that day on wards, you do everything within and out of ambit to ensure the well being of your child. We know how much you treasure your little one. So here is a guide that will help you take care of your newborn's umbilical cord.
How To Take Care Of Your Baby’s Umbilical Cord Before It Falls Off?
Leave it

It is best if you just leave the stump and let it heal at its own pace. Although it may look weird, do not pick or pull it off. Let the stump fall off on its own because any forced method may lead to an infection or bleeding. Keep an eye on it to make sure it’s not getting an infection, but otherwise, it is best that nature take its own course.

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Let it breathe

Let your baby’s cord breathe and get air so that the stump dries up quickly and falls off. Make sure that you fold your baby's diaper down so that the stump receives enough air to breathe.

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Wash Your Hands

You should not touch your baby’s stump in dirty hands. So wash your hands before starting to clean your baby's umbilical cord. This will prevent your baby from being infected by any germs.

Get Prepared

We suggest that you gather all the items before you start cleaning your baby’s stump so that you do not need to go to get something leaving your baby unattended. Keep a soft absorbent towel and a sponge ready. Get a small bowl of water, a mild cleanser that your baby uses and a set of clean clothes.

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Sponge Bathe

Most doctors recommend that sponge baths are the best option to clean your baby until the cord falls off. Use lukewarm water and a clean and soft washcloth to clean your baby’s skin. Try to keep the stump from getting wet as much as possible. 

Wipe the Cord 

To clean the cord, you can just dip a cotton swab in warm water and squeeze it off to remove the excess water. Then just clean around the navel and dry the stump off using a clean absorbent cloth. You can also use a piece of paper to fan it dry. 

Do not use moisturizers

Until the time your baby’s stump falls off, we suggest that you do not use any kind of baby lotion or powder around the cord. Using baby oils can be harmful too and may lead to an infection.

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You can use these doctor recommended solutions to cleanse your baby’s belly button 

You may have heard from your grandmother about how back in their days, they used alcohol to clean a baby's cord stump. But most doctors these days suggest against it because alcohol can irritate the delicate skin of a baby. So we have a list of some gentle cleansers that you can use instead of alcohol to clean your newborn’s stump.
You can use these doctor recommended solutions to cleanse your baby’s belly button

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Sterile Water

Nothing beats sterile water when it comes to cleaning a newborn baby. You can use water to wet a cotton bud and use it to remove the dirt around the naval area of your baby and then dry it thoroughly with a soft cloth.

Breast Milk

However bizarre this may sound, breast milk is an excellent option for a soft and natural cleanser. Since the milk is full of live pro-biotics, antibodies, and antibacterial properties, it serves as an antiseptic for your baby and keeps germs at bay. You can use fresh breast milk to keep the stump from getting infected or treat an emerging infection.

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Powdered Herbs

Several doctors and nurses have positive things to say about the usage of natural herb powders like Goldenseal root powder, dried rosemary powder, and dried myrrh to clean a baby. I had once learned about the many benefits of herbal powder from a clinical essay writer, and I have ever since recommended parents to use them. You can sprinkle some herbal powder onto your baby’s stump. Midwives also claim that dried herbs can help the stump to fall off sooner. Just like you use baby powder after every diaper change, just replace it with herbal powder, and you will see the difference by yourself.


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Herbal Bath

A herbal bath can help the umbilical cord stump to dry up and fall off earlier too. Herbs like Calendula, myrrh, lavender, and rosemary (to name a few) are considered the best for bathing your baby with. After the herbal bath, make sure that the stump is thoroughly dried.


Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is known for its wondrous healing powers and can be used for postpartum stress reliever for moms too. You can use witch hazel to clean your baby also. Since most witch hazel cleansers contain alcohol, though in little quantity, you can check and choose from the various pure brands available.

How to take care of the stump after it falls off? 

Once the umbilical stump falls off after a period of 2 to 3 weeks, the regimen for caring and cleansing the stump and belly button of your baby changes slightly. After the umbilical cord falls off, you can bathe your baby normally. The stump may continue to look red and raw for some days but give it a time of a week or two, and it should become more normal with time.

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Here is how you should go about cleaning your baby’s navel post the fall off.

Wipe the Belly Area

After the stump sheds off, it becomes very important to take care of the naval area of your baby. You can clean your baby's belly button with a washcloth by gently wiping in and around the belly button. As a contrast to the time when the umbilical cord was drying out, you can now use water to rinse the area and give your baby a rejuvenating bath.

Dry the Belly Button

Use a clean and soft towel to pat and dry any signs of moisture on and around the area. Make sure you wipe the inside of the belly button too.

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Moisturize the Belly

After the baby’s stump falls off, it is safe to use a mild baby lotion on his or her belly and navel area. However, do not apply a lot of lotion or cream. A dollop is not required and also, massage in lightly onto the skin. 

How to detect a sign of infection?

A healing stump is prone to infections, and so you must be careful about your baby's navel area. Your baby’s stump can seem to be moist or inflamed or even a little crusty. But that does not always mean that it is infected. If the cord is smelly and discharges foul-smelling pus, then we recommend you to take your baby to a doctor immediately. Redness and swelling of the surrounding skin can be signs of an infection too, and you need to keep a lookout for them all the time.  

Here is a list of other symptoms that may give you the hint of an infection in your baby’s umbilical stump:
  • Fever
  • Red, swollen, and warm cord stump and surrounding skin
  • Yellow or green pus
  • Continuous stump bleeding
  • Foul odor
In case of any of the above symptoms, we recommend you to contact your baby's pediatrician immediately for the right diagnosis of an umbilical cord infection. Proper treatment is needed to stop the germs from spreading. Do not use self-prescribed lotions or ointments. Do not take any suggestions from other mothers as well because every baby is different and can have different requirements. 

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Also, if you see that your baby’s stump has not come off even after the duration of four weeks, this may be a sign of an underlying infection or an immune system disorder. Consult the pediatrician immediately. 

We hope you and your baby a healthy and happy life! Love always. 

Author Bio: Shirley Brown is a pediatrician and active childcare blogger who offers assignment help services to students studying Pediatrics through with MyAssignmentHelp.com/au. Besides being a voracious reader, she loves to engage in social work.

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