What’s an umbilical cord stump?
Babies in the womb receive nourishment and oxygen through the placenta, which is attached to the inner wall of the mother’s uterus. The placenta is connected to the baby by the umbilical cord, which attaches to the baby through an opening in the baby’s abdomen. After a baby is born, the umbilical cord is clamped and cut close to the baby’s body in a painless procedure, leaving an umbilical stump attached to your baby’s navel.
During your pregnancy it is the umbilical cord that is holding you to your baby and the most important thing for the baby as it is the thing that supplies all the nourishment as well as oxygen to your baby. Everything passes through the umbilical cord.After you deliver the umbilical cord is cut off and clamped. At birth the umbilical cord contains a jelly like substance. This dries down to the margin of the skin and usually drops off within a week or ten days.
This process takes less time during dry weather and more time during the rainy season. Since the area is moist, it enables germs to grow easily and therefore special care needs to be taken. There is no need to bandage the umbilical cord area as it used to be done in earlier times. It is better left uncovered as it will be allowed to dry quickly. Every day after the baby’s bath it is good to apply an antiseptic or if it is not drying quickly then you can apply surgical spirit or alcohol using a cotton swab. After its application sprinkle some powder on the area.
Also when bathing the baby do not rub that area too much as it may cause irritation and make sure that when you make the baby wear a nappy it should be lower than the cord; at least till it falls off. If there is any redness or pus it is advisable to go to a doctor. In some cases it may give out a foul smell. Then too you need to visit the doctor.
It is more advisable to give the baby a sponge bath till the cord falls off. In case it has not fallen even after a month then you would need to consult your doctor and decide what is to be done. This is very rare. All this is a normal process and there is nothing to worry about. Even if it begins to look dark and shrivelled it only means that it is going to fall off soon. So remember to keep the area clean to ward off any infection.
Keep it clean
Keep the umbilical cord stump clean and dry. Fold the baby’s diaper away from the stump (or buy newborn diapers with a cut-out space for the stump) so it is exposed to the air and won’t come in contact with urine.
If the stump looks dirty or sticky, dab it gently with a wet washcloth (no soap or alcohol necessary — it might irritate tender skin and isn’t necessary for healing) and then pat with a dry cloth.
Keep the stump dry.
Help the base dry out by regularly exposing it to air.
Stick to sponge baths. Don’t dunk that navel underwater for now. Once the stump falls off, feel free to bathe your baby in his pint-sized tub.
Avoid covering the stump with the top of his diaper. Some newborn-size disposables feature a little notch at the waistband, or you can simply fold down the front of the diaper to keep it away from the belly button. Change wet and dirty diapers promptly so they don’t leak upward toward the navel.