While you are pregnant, the umbilical cord is used by your body to transport food and nutrients from you to your baby in the womb. At the time of delivery, this umbilical cord is cut by your doctor, which leaves a half inch to one inch sized stump on your baby’s belly. This stump later dries up and falls off on its own, generally in one to four weeks of time. But, as long as it is there, it needs proper care else it can get infected and create problems for your baby.
Following Are Some Of The Basic Things You Can Do To Take Care Of Your Newborn’s Umbilical Cord Stump:
1. Never Remove It By Force
When the umbilical cord stump on your newborn dries up completely and its connection to the baby’s belly turns very loose, you might see that it is connected by just a very tiny thread. Even if that is the case, you should never pull it by force. The scab will fall off on its own. So, just keep your patience and do not interfere. Pulling it off by force can cause continuous bleeding. If, despite all your care, such things happen, you must call your baby’s doctor immediately.
2. Use Loose-Fitting Clothes
You must dress up your baby very delicately. Choose dresses that are soft and loose fitting to your baby. The safest way is to use clothes that have a special cutout for the stump. This will allow more air circulation and ensure the dress does not rub with the stump. Kimono style dresses are also good. Avoid clothes like snap-crotch undershirts.
3. Use Diaper With Caution
Make sure that the top part of the diaper your baby is wearing does not cover or rub with the stump. If it is interfering with the stump, fold down the waistband to keep it away from the belly button. Also, do not leave dirty and wet diapers for long. It can leak upward toward the stump and cause infections. So, be very prompt in changing diapers quickly once it gets dirty.
4. Avoid Tub Bath
You should use tub bath for your baby only after the stump dries up and falls off. Before that, you should bath your baby using a sponge, making sure you do not interfere with the stump.
5. Keep The Stump Clean
While it is true that you should not interfere with the stump much, but at the same time, it is also your duty to make sure it stays clean. If you leave it dirty, it can catch infections. So, when you find it looking dirty or sticky, use a wet washcloth and dab the area very delicately. Then pat it with a dry cloth. Do not use soap because that part is very sensitive for the baby and soap might irritate its tender skin.
6. Keep It Dry
Last, but not the least, it is very important for you to make sure the stump area gets proper air circulation. So, you must not keep it covered for a long time. Uncover the area regularly and expose it to air so that it dries out fast.
Remember, the umbilical cord stump changes its color as it dries up. At birth, it is usually yellowish-green. Then, gradually, in a few days, it turns purplish-blue and then finally it turns black. It happens because the stump is drying up. When it dries up completely, it turns black and finally falls off on its own. So, do not be intimidated by its changing color. It might look weird to you, but it is the normal procedure.