It is normal to be a bit weary of cleaning and washing your newborn for the very first time. You might be a bit skeptical because of their umbilical cord stump. The umbilical cord is how your little one received nutrition while being in the tummy. The area was clamped and cut very close to the baby’s body after they were born. The procedure was painless, however, it has left a little stump that has not healed and needs extra tender care until the stump falls off. Yes, it falls off!
Stump Falls Off: What Next?
The stump usually falls away between 7 to 15 days, sometimes it can take shorter or longer depending upon certain circumstances. It is quite normal to notice small drops of blood on the child’s diaper around the umbilical cord area. You might also notice that a small wound is left that normally heals within a few days to a week. It is normal to witness clear or yellow fluid drainage around the area. If the area continues to drain, it might be necessary to check with the child’s pediatrician. However, the problem is usually not serious and treatment is painless.
How to Take Care of the Area Until The Stump Falls Off?
- The umbilical cord stump should be kept dry and clean. Keep the baby’s diaper folded down away from the stump to keep moisture and poop from getting in the area. There are also special made diapers that have the umbilical area cut out of them.
- Until the stump area completely heals, give your little one sponge baths. Wait to give them their very first tub bath.
- Keep your little one in just a loose T-shirt and diaper in warm weather. It is healthy to allow the area to receive as much air as possible to speed up the healing process.
- Do not pull or tug at the stump area. Even if the stump looks like it is just hanging, allow it to fall off on its own.
- Avoid putting your baby in the cute little onesies during this time as well. The material on the area is most likely to cause irritation, and prevent the stump area from getting the proper air it needs to heal.
- You should never use alcohol to clean the area. The American Academy used to recommend the area to be clean with a cotton swap dipped in alcohol. However, the rules have changed it is best to leave the area alone, and allow it to heal on its own. It actually will heal a lot faster.
Signs of an Umbilical Cord Infection
Infections are rare, but consult your healthcare provider if:
- Your little one cries when you touch the cord or the skin near the stump area.
- You notice that the skin around the base of the cord is red, and bleeding continuously.
- The stump smells foul or gives off a yellowish discharge.