Not many forums talk about it, but the umbilical cord has actually served as a lifeline for your child for the nine months he/she was in mommy’s womb. Here, we’ve decided to give you a few tips on how to take care of the little stump that is left behind when the umbilical cord is cut from both the mother’s and baby’s end.
The umbilical cord is basically the connection between the mother and her baby inside the womb. All nutrients are passed to the growing baby through the umbilical cord. Oxygenated blood is passed to the baby by the two arteries present inside the cord. Also, the deoxygenated blood is removed from the baby’s system by the single vein within the umbilical cord. At the time of pregnancy, this cord is cut from the mother’s end as well as towards the end of the baby. These days, the cord is stored as people now understand the importance of the stem cells it contains. Once it is cut at the baby’s end, it leaves a small stump of about 2-3 cms over your baby’s belly. This stump needs to be taken care of until it dries. As it does not have any nerves, the stump does not hurt your baby.
HOW SHOULD YOU TAKE CARE OF THE STUMP?
1. First and foremost, the stump area should always be clean and dry. Not doing so can lead to an infection.
2. Make sure the diaper is away from the stump by folding it in required manner. Another option is to cut the diaper near the belly to keep it dry.
3. Keep the stump in contact with air as much as possible.
4. Avoid bathing your baby in a tub until the umbilical cord stump falls off.
5. Do not attempt to pull the stump. Let it fall naturally.
6. When the stump falls off, there might be a little discharge of blood or pus. Do not worry as this is normal. Wipe it gently with a clean cloth.
WHEN WILL IT FALL OFF?
On day one, the umbilical cord looks white and slimy. It eventually dries off to turn slowly into gray or blue color, and then black. For most babies, it takes a minimum of two weeks for it to fall off. By the end of three weeks, the stump falls off completely. Let the area heal by keeping it clean at all times.
HOW SHOULD I WASH THE UMBILICAL CORD STUMP?
Your baby’s umbilical cord stump must stay away from water as much as possible for quick and better healing. A sponge bath is a good choice and is sure to clean the area near the belly with a clean cloth. Also, fan the area near the belly after a bath. Do not rub the area near his umbilical cord as it may lead to irritation of the skin.
WHEN SHOULD I BE WORRIED?
You must consult your pediatrician immediately if:
1. You notice yellow or white pus at the base of the stump, which has a significant foul smell.
2. If there is dropwise continuous bleeding near the stump.
3. If the base of the stump appears to be swollen and red.
4. If your baby cries when you touch the stump. Keep your baby healthy right from day one. A healthy baby is a happy baby.