Newborn baby’s umbilical cord is a critical component that needs to be cared gently. It dries and falls off within first to third week after birth, until which one needs to care for it. It leaves a small wound which heals in a few days to.
This chord is responsible for providing nourishment and oxygen in the womb before birth, connected by a placenta. Placenta connects inner wall of mother's uterus to baby's abdomen. After birth, umbilical cord is cut close to the body in a painless procedure, leaving an umbilical stump that drops off within three weeks time.
Care for Newborn Baby’s Umbilical Cord
- Clamping of umbilical cord is done to prevent infections. Clamping for sealing of blood vessels in the chord needs to be done carefully. Plastic umbilical cord clamp, or metal cord clamp or cord tape are used for the procedure.
- Umbilical cord must be kept clean and dry until it drops off.
- Newborn diapers with cut-out space for the cord should be used to ascertain that stump is exposed to the air and not to urine.
- Sponge bath is the way to bathe baby for first three weeks. Tub bath should be avoided until exclusion of stump.
- In warm conditions, have baby in a loose T-shirt and diaper in order to ensure that air circulates within the body for easy drying. Undershirt or body-hugging garments must be avoided.
- Don’t tamper with cord, even if it seems to be hung by a little thread.
- In some cases, stump fall leaves lumpy flesh, known as umbilical granuloma. Don’t panic as this flesh has no nerves.
- In order to prevent infection, swab the cord with a dye or another antiseptic when clamping and cutting the cord.
- It is recommended to clean base of the stump with a cotton swab.
- Rubbing of alcohol or peroxide a little, once or twice a day helps in cleaning umbilical cord. Cotton ball is another alternate medium to clean up.
Umbilical Cord Infection Signs
Newborn baby’s umbilical cord can get infected if not taken care of. Indicators of infected umbilical cord in babies are as follows:
- Foul smell from the stump region.
- Fever or other symptoms indicating sickness.
- Pus in the navel region.
- Bleeding caused due to accidental tampering.
- Redness at the base of umbilical cord.
In case you notice any such signs, rush to a paediatrician immediately.