5 Tips On How To Take Care On Your Baby’s Umbilical Cord Stump

During the early weeks of a babies life, there is a stump remaining on the belly button left over from when the umbilical cord was clamped, then cut immediately after birth. It doesn’t hurt or feel uncomfortable to your baby in anyway as it doesn’t contain any nerve endings.

Generally, this will fall off naturally by itself during the early weeks leaving a nice normal looking belly button. However, it is advisable to check everything looks alright and to care for it properly to avoid infections or damage to the area. Looking after the stump is very simple and it doesn’t take much time or effort. Here are five helpful suggestions to help your care for your babies umbilical cord stump:

Let Air Get To It

Before the cord falls off it needs to dry out, allowing the cord access to the air will help this to happen faster. Try and dress your baby in loose clothing and try not the let the diaper cover it to much as this will prevent it from getting contact with the air. You could try laying the baby on a changing mat with no clothes on for a while as long as it isn’t to cold

Wait For Baths

As it is important for the cord to dry properly, getting it wet in the bath really isn’t a good idea. Wait to bath your baby until it has completely fallen off. This way it will dry properly and you will avoid risk of infection. Top and tail your baby using cotton wool and water during the early weeks.

Leave It Alone

Our experts advice: Don’t pull at or fiddle with your babies umbilical cord stump even if you think it may be coming off, pulling it off can make your baby bleed and leave them open to infection.

Swab Or Not?

Some people choose to swab around the cord stump with alcohol-dipped cotton wool, others choose to use a powder to help it stay clean and dry out and some just allow it to dry naturally and leave it completely alone. Opinions of hospitals and clinics can vary in the advice they give about the use of powders and alcohol and will inform you about this before you take your baby home. Some research suggests that leaving the cord alone actually allows it to dry out and fall off quicker.

Be Aware Of Infection

Although it is very rare, it is possible for the umbilical cord stump to become infected, which could make your baby very ill. Things to look out for are

  • fever
  • stump bleeding continuously
  • any signs of pus or greenness
  • a foul odour coming from the area or the skin around the navel being swollen
  • red or warm to the touch.

If you see any of these signs contact your doctor immediately.

Hopefully this advise has been useful and fully explained everything you need to know, however if you are worried or have any concerns about this contact your midwife or doctor who will be more that happy to talk things through properly and answer any questions.