What you need to know about caring for your newborn's umbilical stump
Caring for your newborn's umbilical stump is very important since proper cleaning and care should help prevent any infection from setting in.
One of the important things that new parents should know about caring for their newborn is to know how to care for their newborn's umbilical stump. Here's what you need to know.
What exactly is your newborn's umbilical stump?
It might look just like a scab, but your newborn's umbilical stump is what remains of the umbilical cord, which is connected to their bellybutton and provides them with nutrients and oxygen that comes from the mother's placenta.
When your baby is born, the umbilical cord is clamped, and it is cut close to your newborn's body. It's a painless procedure, and the stump is then left attached to your newborn's bellybutton.
The stump usually dries out and falls off within 7-21 days, and it's important for moms and dads to make sure that it's always clean and free from any bacteria since it can easily get infected and cause your newborn to get sick.
How do you care for your newborn's umbilical stump?
Caring for your newborn's umbilical stump is a pretty straightforward process. Here are some important things to keep in mind:
- Make sure that the stump is always clean and dry so that it can be free from infection. Diapers should also be folded away from the stump so that any urine won't get into the stump.
- Sponge baths are preferred instead of tub baths since in a tub bath, water can get deep inside the stump, and create an environment where bacteria can potentially grow. Sponge baths are safer since you're just cleaning the outside of the stump, and you can be sure that water won't get inside.
- Keeping the stump dry and make sure that the air circulates around it since that helps speed up the drying process.
- Try to avoid dressing your newborn in bodysuits or tight-fitting clothes while the stump is still attached. Loose clothing is preferred since it helps air circulate better.
- Don't try and pull off the stump, even if it seems loose or about to fall off. Let it fall off on its own.
- Avoid using alcohol to clean the stump. Just use a moist sponge and clean the surrounding area. You don't need to use any harsh soaps since your newborn is pretty clean and they don't really get that dirty.
What are the signs of an infected stump?
If your child shows any of these signs, make sure to take them to a doctor since it could mean that their umbilical stump is infected.
- Your newborn cries when you touch the stump, or the areas surrounding it.
- The skin around it looks reddish or inflamed.
- There's a foul smell or yellow discharge coming from the stump.
- The stump bleeds continuously.