When a baby enters the world, the umbilical cord is clamped and snipped, marking his exit from the mother’s womb. What is left is the residue known as the umbilical cord stump that becomes a topic of discussion and anxiety amongst many first-time parents. As it looks rough on the baby’s smooth skin, many parents want to get rid of it as soon as possible. However, there are strict guidelines on how to deal with it. But before that, you should know the exact purpose of an umbilical cord.
Function of an Umbilical Cord
For that shapeless embryo to form into a beautiful baby with developed body and limbs, it needs nourishment and oxygen. This is offered through the placenta which is attached to the mother’s uterus. The placenta is connected to the infant through the umbilical cord, situated near his abdomen. Therefore, after the baby leaves the womb, it practically becomes useless and is cut off. What is left is the stump on the lower abdomen of the baby.
How to take Care of the Umbilical Stump
The umbilical cord stump eventually falls off in about 7 to 21 days, but before that, make sure you take care of it properly. This is how you should do it:
Keep the stump clean:
According to earlier methods, parents used to clean it by rubbing alcohol over it after a diaper change. However, now the researchers suggest it is better to leave it alone. It is found that untreated cords dry up faster than alcohol-swabbed cords. However, if it gets too sticky or dirty, just clean it with plain water. Use an absorbent cloth to dry it or just fan it with a piece of paper.
Keep the umbilical stump dry:
Do not cover the stump, especially in warm and humid weather. Make sure that you fix the diaper a little below the navel so that it is exposed to the air, allowing the base to stay dry. Make your baby wear only a diaper and loose T-shirt in such weather.
Go for a sponge bath:
Give your baby a sponge bath. Keep him away from tub bath until it falls off.
Do not pull it off:
Yes, you might feel the urge to pull it off as it looks unappealing, but avoid that. Let it fall off on its own, even if the stump is hanging just by a thread.
Stumps are vulnerable to many infections, so keep these minor points in mind and they will help keep all stump-related discomforts at bay. However if they persist for long and you can see some redness, swelling, yellow pus or foul-smelling discharge, then it could be a sign of infection. In such a scenario, seek expert help immediately.