Umbilical cord care of newborn.


Greetings!! you have just welcomed your little bundle of joy in life.  Parenting is a big responsibility.  First time parents live everyday in the 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.

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

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.

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 cord care

  • Do not bump it with the diaper.
  • 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. 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.

When to see a doctor?

If your newborn gets Fever of 100.4° F or higher, take her to the doctor immediately. Redness, swelling, or tenderness in the skin surrounding the navel area are the warning signs of any infection going inside. If you see lot of foul smelling discharge from the navel, take the baby to the hospital.

Sometimes, a persistent, yellow-green discharge from the belly button without any sign of redness, swelling or tenderness and fever is there. Also, a small nodule of pinkish red tissue is formed which is called 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. 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.