A mother’s bond with her baby starts before she even realizes it - through the umbilical cord. Taking care of the umbilical cord is essential because it is one of the most delicate and infection prone zones for newborns.
Although the umbilical cord is cut off right after birth, there lies a stump of tissues, which need to get dried up before it falls off on its own. This requires around 2-3 weeks, and all it needs is a mom’s love, care and a lot of attention.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to caring for your baby’s umbilical cord.
1. The umbilical cord needs to be kept dry and away from any kind of moisture, so that it does not get infected.
2. The baby’s diaper needs to be kept folded away from the umbilical cord, so that the chances of sweating in that region becomes low. This prevents any major threat to the life of your baby. Exposure to air will help it dry out faster.
3. When you’re bathing your baby, use a sponge instead of the usual tub baths. The sponge contains enough water to give your baby a nice bath. Too much water and moisture are bad for your baby’s umbilical cord.
Take a small cotton swab and dip it in warm water and mild soap. Squeeze the excess water and use it to wipe around the umbilical cord. It will keep the area hygienic and clean.
Later, gently pat it dry with a dry cotton towel and avoid putting moisturizer near that region.
4. On hot summer days, let your baby wear only a diaper and loose clothing to let air get circulated. This will only help in speeding up the drying process.
5. Don’t dress your baby in a full body suit or have any kind of tight clothing that will stick to your newborn’s body. There needs to be a passageway for air to pass through your baby’s clothes. Not only will it fasten the drying process, but it will help in preventing rashes.
6. Don’t even think of pulling off the stump from the umbilical cord. It might be quite a tempting thing to do because it looks like a thread sticking out. You should never pull it or even attempt to pull it off.
Not only will you hurt your baby and cause him/her physical pain, but you will end up increasing the probability of your baby developing a terrible infection.
7. You’ll realize that the area is infected only when the skin around the region becomes red. Your baby starts crying in pain even if you touch the area slightly. You will notice a foul odour coming from your baby’s belly button, with several puss-like formations developing inside the belly button.