Care and cleaning of the newborn umbilical cord
After birth, it takes 1-2 weeks before the stump of the newborn umbilical cord dries and falls off. We need to take care of it to prevent infections and further health issues.There are many alternative methods for cleaning the stump. You may use rubbing alcohol, goldenseal root or Echinacea. Rubbing alcohol may cause irritations and delay the healing, during cleaning the newborn umbilical cord. You must consult the pediatrician before starting to use either of these. The doctor and nurse will tell you the best way to deal with it.
Keeping the area dry is the fastest way for healing. When the newborn umbilical cord is exposed more to air, the base of the cord dries and takes less time to heal. You may use newborn diapers with a special cut for the cord, or folding the diaper down can help too. If it’s hot outside, dress the baby in a t-shirt and diaper only.
Bathing does not help. Avoid taking baths until the cord is healed. Use only sponge baths and afterwards dry it with a fan completely. Do not rub, it may cause irritation. Let the newborn umbilical cord heal naturally. Do not try to pull it off or pick it, even if it appears to be hanging on by a thread.
Infections may appear, called omphalitis, which if not treated immediately, can be a serious threat for the child’s life. The signs of infection include the red or swollen base, bleeding, yellowish or white pus, foul smelling discharge and if painful to the baby.
If any sign of infection appears you must take the baby to the pediatrician. Also, if the cord is bleeding actively, which is a result of early pulling off. You can determine it is bleeding when one drop of blood is wiped away, then another appears. It does not have to be heavy bleeding.
The umbilical granuloma may also occur. It is a small nodule of pinkish-red tissue with yellow-green drainage. This is not an infection because it is not followed by swelling, redness, warmth, tenderness or fever. It can be treated with silver nitrate, which burns the tissue. It is not painful because there are no nerve endings in that area.
Finally, the umbilical cord can stay on the outside, or on the inside. No one can predict if it is going to be an innie or an outie. Some people believe that taping a coin or other flat object will make it an innie, but this is not true.