Published On: Mon, Mar 3rd, 2014

Caring for the Umbilical Stump of a New Born

A newborn child spells a lot of happiness and excitement for the entire family. There is so much that the couple has to learn and adapt to. One important aspect related to a newborn is the Umbilical Cord. It connects the child to the mother and passes oxygen and other nutrients to the growing baby. It is of no use after birth of the child and needs to be cut in order to separate the two.  In this article we discuss some information related to the umbilical cord.

We have already discussed what is the umbilical cord and its functions. It connects the baby and the mother. It helps transfer nutrients and oxygen



Newborn Umbilical Cord

Newborn Umbilical Cord

from the mother’s body to the child. The cord is not required by either the mother or the baby after birth. The beauty of God’s this entire process is when the cord is cut after birth of the child none feels pain.  We share some useful information about the umbilical cord.

Umbilical Cord can be stored

 The umbilical cord can be stored for stem cells. Many parents preserve the umbilical cord as it can be a great help to the child when he or she grows up. The stem cells can cure a number of diseases.

There are many agencies that take the responsibility of preserving the stem cells. You can approach these agencies and preserve the stem cells. This can be a life saver for the child in the future. The umbilical cord must be preserved immediately else it will lose the benefits. 

The newborn baby umbilical cord is delicate and you must be extra careful to take care of the same. Now let’s move on to how you can take care of the umbilical cord stump.

Caring for the umbilical stump

Umbilical Stump

Umbilical Stump

Taking care of the umbilical cord stump maybe a little difficult if you are new to parenting. The cord changes color after being cut. It turns green, then brown and eventually black. The umbilical cord stump slowly dries and falls off. However, you must take good care of the umbilical cord stump in these weeks so that the child does not suffer from any infection.

Some simple tips that can help in taking care of the stump are mentioned below.

  1.  Always keep the umbilical cord stump clean. Do not rub the umbilical cord stump and use any special cleanser on it. Clean it with a clean cloth if it gets dirty. You can also use cotton swabs to clean the stump.
  2. Do not use any soap on the umbilical cord stump when you give bath to the baby.
  3. Keep the umbilical cord stump as dry as possible. You can also fan it a little to ensure that it is absolutely dry. This is especially after a bath. If water accumulates in the umbilical cord stump then it is not good for the baby.
  4. The umbilical cord stump must be exposed to air. This is good for it to dry and fall off faster.
  5. If you are putting on a diaper for the baby, then always ensure that the diaper does not touch the umbilical cord stump at all.
  6. Till the umbilical cord stump falls off you can dress the baby in a cotton shirt and a diaper alone if the weather is warm. This will help the umbilical cord stump to dry faster.
  7. Till the umbilical cord stump falls off you can just sponge the baby so that the umbilical cord stump is dry and does not catch infection.  Once the umbilical cord stump dries up you can put the baby in bath tub and give a good bath.
  8. A common mistake that parents do is that they try to pull off the umbilical cord stump if it is hanging like a thread. This should never be done.  Leave it alone and let it fall over on its own.
  9. Unless the doctor advises you to use an antiseptic on the stump do not use it.  If the baby is premature then sometimes the umbilical cord stump is taken care of with antiseptic creams.
  10. Wash your hands as you touch the umbilical cord stump as it may lead to infections.

The change in color of the umbilical cord stump may be scary but it is absolutely fine. However, you must consult the doctor if you see the following changes in the umbilical cord stump area:

  1.  Bleeding in this area
  2. A foul smelling discharge from the cord
  3. Yellow pus
  4. Swelling around the area
  5. The baby complaints of fever for no apparent reasons
  6. The baby looks tired
  7. The baby avoids taking feed

These points may indicate that there is infection in the umbilical cord stump and if you do not treat the infection on time then it will only spread more. Do not try to do your medication or listen to the elders in the family call the doctor immediately.

What happens when the umbilical cord falls?

The umbilical cord stump may take about two weeks to fall off. However, the time taken can be more or less too it depends from situation to situation. Just leave it alone and let it take the time it takes to heal. The umbilical cord stump will fall off and leave a tummy button when the wound is healed. The midwife or the doctor will tie the umbilical cord stump. It requires a lot of skill to tie the umbilical cord stump. Some keep the plastic clamp on till the umbilical cord stump falls off. The father may be asked to cut the umbilical cord as the doctor ties the umbilical cord stump. When the umbilical cord stump falls you may notice a little blood this is natural. Just clean it and let it on its own.

What if the cord does not fall?

Sometimes the doctors may advice a cauterization if the umbilical cord stump is not falling off or is not healing. The process is simple and does not hurt or harm the baby. The nurse uses a silver nitrate stick and seals the umbilical cord stump. This process is a common one and do not take a lot of trouble.

Another word of caution we would like to mention is that in India people apply oil on the umbilical cord stump they may also put an earthen lamp and coin on this area. This area is extremely sensitive and please do not let anyone touch this area or put something on it. These can cause infections to the baby.

Parenting is not an easy job but if you are a little careful you can definitely save yourself a lot of trouble. We hope that the information in this will help you take better care of your newborn child.

About the Author

All Rights Reserved