Umbilical Cord Care

image001The umbilical cord that has sustained the baby thus far will be cut at the time of his/her birth, leaving a small stump behind in his/her tummy. The cutting is going to be done by the midwife and the baby is not going to feel any pain while it is being done. Now the services of the umbilical cord are no longer required, and you want it to disappear quickly from your baby’s tummy. Before it goes away, it deserves a pat on the back for doing its job in the best possible manner.

The following are some tips that can help you in making sure that your baby’s umbilical cord stump does not get infected until it disappears completely.

What Is the Purpose of the Umbilical Cord?

The umbilical cord serves the purpose of a joining link in between the baby and the placenta through which he/she receives the nutrition as well as oxygen in the womb. The placenta originates from the inner wall of the uterus of the mother and is responsible for supplying oxygen and nourishment to the baby. When the child is born, the umbilical cord is no longer required and is thus cut after applying a clamp. This cutting results in the formation of a stump in the baby’s abdomen known as the umbilical stump.

How Long Will a Baby Have an Umbilical Cord Stump?

It is going to take about a week for the umbilical cord stump to shrivel up and fall off. Your baby’s midwife is going to cover the stump with a plastic clamp at first to let the stump dry and then take it off after a few days when it has served its purpose. However, in some babies, the plastic clamp is kept on until the stump disappears. After the stump has finally fallen off, a small wound would be left in its place in the baby’s tummy, which would become his belly button once it has healed properly.

The umbilical stump is going to change color multiple times before it eventually dries up and falls away. Immediately after birth, the stump would have a white color and it would feel moist to touch. However, when it dries, it would change its color first to brown then to gray and finally to black. These color changes indicate that the stump is drying off normally and there is nothing for you to worry about.

The area of the tummy where the stump had been is going to remain raw for a few days and might exude some fluid as well. However, it is not going to last for more than a week or two before it dries up completely.

How to Take Care of the Umbilical Cord Stump

For the time that it is still attached to your baby’s abdomen, you will have to take care of it or it is going to get infected. Here we list some umbilical cord care methods for you:



Leave it alone

The best way of taking care of the umbilical cord stump is to leave it alone. Do not try to rub it with alcohol or any other ointment. However, if you do see any signs of dirt on the stump then wash it away with water and then immediately dry it by putting a cloth around it. You can use a piece of paper as a fan for drying out the stump as well. It is important to not interfere with the falling off process of the stump. Do not pull at it or try to remove it on your own even if the stump is barely sticking to the baby’s abdomen.

Keep the stump dry

Another tip for keeping the umbilical stump dry is to clothe your baby in a t-shirt and fold the diaper in such a way that it does not cover the stump. In this way, the stump is going to be exposed to air and will remain dry.

Give your baby sponge baths after it falls off

Until the stump falls off, it is best to give sponge baths to your baby instead of the full bath as it will ensure that dryness of the stump.

Want to see how to conduct the umbilical cord care when being stumped? Check out the video below:

When Should You Be Concerned About Your Baby’s Umbilical Cord Stump?

Although, several umbilical cord care methods can help you baby get relieved, there are something you need to know that when should you be concerned.

1. Infection

Any sign of infection is a cause of concern and must be reported to the doctor immediately. The signs of infection include redness of skin around the stump’s base, fever and irritation felt by the baby whenever the skin present near the stump is touched. Bleeding, pus and discharge of any kind from the stump is another sign of infection. These signs of infection should be heeded because if they are not taken care of immediately, they can cause Omphalitis, which is a highly dangerous infection that can even result in death.

2. Umbilical Granuloma

Besides infection there are other things that should be watched out for after the umbilical stump has fallen off. One of them is umbilical granuloma which is characterized by the development of a small red lump on the same spot where the stump had been. It is just a piece of extra tissue that your doctor will be able to treat easily.

3. Umbilical Hernia

The third one is umbilical hernia which is characterized by swelling of the tissue surrounding the navel. It is going to heal by itself, but it must be monitored by a doctor.