Newborn baby with umbilical cord sleeping on first day in life

Complete guide to take care of baby’s umbilical cord


Greetings!! you have just welcomed your little bundle of joy in your family.  Parenting is a big responsibility.  First time parents live everyday amidst fear of doing something wrong, which might cause harm to their fragile babies. Stop worrying. Just gather knowledge to do things in a right way and you are all set. In this article, you will gain information about how to take care of Umbilical cord of your baby.

First of all, what is umbilical cord?

Umbilical cord is the only channel which connects mother to her unborn baby in the womb. Food and oxygen are passed through it, from mother to the fetus and all the waste products are transferred back to the mother to process them and discard out from the body.

What happens to the umbilical cord after delivery?

During delivery, the umbilical cord is clamped and cut routinely and left alone to dry on its own. It  falls after drying and remaining part transforms into the belly button later. The whole procedure is not at all painful for the baby if the right care is taken by the parents.

How long does it take for the umbilical cord to dry and fall?

The umbilical stump takes about 2 weeks to dry and fall. Sometimes it may be sooner or later by 1 week. Till then, it needs special care as it is a delicate site which is prone to injury and infection. The caregivers need to be careful enough, while handling the baby, all that time.

The Do’s and Don’ts  of taking care of your baby’s belly button right after birth

    • Do not bump it with the diaper while changing the baby.
    • Do not touch the stump. Instruct other young children in family not to play with it
    • Do not soak your baby in bath tub, till the stump has not fallen
    • Do not pull even the hanging stump, let it fall at its own pace
    • Tie the diaper and nappies below the navel region. Take the right size diaper according to weight of the baby. Fold the diaper to avoid touching the stump

  • Frequently change the diapers and nappies to keep the region dry and avoid leakage to navel area
  • Give sponge baths only till the stump is present
  • If stump looks dirty, clean it with a clean cotton dipped in plain water and then drying it with a clean cloth or tissue
  • Dress up your baby in loose clothes for good circulation of air in the navel area

What are the signs of infections in umbilical cord stump or belly button?

Redness, swelling, or tenderness in the skin surrounding the navel area are the warning signs of any infection going inside. Also, you may  see lot of foul smelling discharge coming out  from the navel area. Your newborn might get Fever around 100.4° F or higher. Take her to the doctor immediately if you see these symptoms.

When will Doctor recommend local cauterization of umbilical cord stump with silver nitrate?

Sometimes, there are no such signs of infection but a persistent, yellow-green discharge comes out from the belly button. Also, a small nodule of pinkish red tissue is formed .This condition is clinically termed as “umbilical granuloma”. Pediatrician treat this at his office by  applying  silver nitrate to the umbilical stump with a cotton swab on stick. Silver nitrate is a chemical used to burn and dry up the tissue at the base of the stump. Brownish discharge is there. Normal skin growth follows the treatment.

How to take care of baby’s belly button after silver nitrate treatment?

Doctor may instruct the parents to apply the same chemical on the belly button. Be cautious while applying it to only on the stump, and not spill on the nearby areas as baby’s skin is very sensitive.

Don’t run to the doctor with baby if you just see some blood discharge near the dried stump. It is perfectly normal to bleed little when the stump falls. However, a persistent and heavy bleeding from the stump should not be neglected as it may be due to some clotting problem.

Soon, 2 weeks will pass and umbilical cord will heal thoroughly. Sometimes, it may take longer too. You will be able to give proper massage and bath to the baby after navel area is dried and healed properly. Take care of your baby’s delicate skin by applying herbal products. All range of products for new born are now being delivered at door step by amazon.

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