Umbilical Cord Care for Newborns

Umbilical Cord Care for Newborns

Newborn Umbilical Cord Care Measures

After the baby is born, umbilical cord care is critical because the umbilical cord is a door for bacteria to invade the baby’s body. If baby care is not right, the umbilical cord may become infected and inflamed in mild cases or easily cause neonatal sepsis or even death in severe cases. So, how to properly care for the umbilical cord? Are there any precautions? The following is to talk about the newborn umbilical cord care of those things.

1. The umbilical cord stump usually falls off within one week after birth.

When the baby is not born, the umbilical cord is a vital life link between the baby and the mother. After the baby is born, the medical staff will cut the umbilical cord and clip it up with an umbilical cord clip or valve core. Forty-eight hours later, the medical staff will remove the clip, and the umbilical cord stump will become dry and hard and 2-3cm higher than the skin. The umbilical cord stump will generally fall off naturally within 1-2 weeks after the baby is born.

2. Baby’s umbilical cord care principle: keep it clean and dry

Under normal circumstances, the baby’s umbilical cord will become smaller and smaller after it dries out. Keeping the umbilical cord dry will make it fall off faster.

Before the umbilical cord falls off, it is recommended that parents pay attention to keeping the umbilical cord clean and dry days. If there are no exceptional circumstances, there is usually no need to use disinfectant water. However, if the hygiene condition is not right, alcohol can be used for disinfection.

3. The best thing for your baby is for the umbilical cord stump to fall off naturally.

During the healing process of the baby’s umbilical cord stump, some parents may feel that it will get in the way and worry about rubbing the baby’s skin and try to trim the cord stump by themselves. This may affect the healing of the baby’s umbilical cord stump and may even cause secondary damage. Therefore, it is best for the baby to wait for the umbilical cord stump to fall off naturally if parents are patient.

4. Five precautions for umbilical cord care

1. Parents must wash their hands first when cleaning the umbilical cord for their babies.

2. Expose the umbilical cord when putting on diapers for your baby.

3. When bathing your baby, don’t let the water go over the umbilical cord and avoid getting wet.

4. Do not use talcum powder to dry the umbilical cord stump to avoid inflammation of the umbilical cord and buds’ growth.

5. If your baby’s umbilical cord shows any of the following conditions, you should seek medical attention promptly: yellow odorous discharge from the umbilical cord; red skin at the base of the umbilical cord; your baby starts to cry when you touch the umbilical cord; it has not fallen off by three weeks.

How to Take Care of Umbilical Cord for Newborns

The umbilical cord is the link between the fetus and the placenta and is the channel through which the fetus absorbs and excretes metabolites from the mother. After the baby is born, the original significance of the umbilical cord is lost. Therefore, after the baby is born, the doctor will cut off the umbilical cord near the baby’s end, leaving a small stump of the cord. It takes about a week for the umbilical cord to fall off from the cut to the root. The umbilical cord’s cut stump is very susceptible to germ infection for the baby, so meticulous umbilical cord care is needed.

Newborn umbilical cord care should pay attention to the following aspects.

1. Pay attention to waterproofing.

In the process of umbilical cord care, parents should pay special attention to keeping the umbilical cord dry and not getting wet with diapers or other items. If you find that your baby’s umbilical cord cloth is damp, it should be replaced immediately. Don’t use dirty hands or dirty cloth to touch or wipe your belly button. Do not cover the umbilicus with diapers to avoid urine or feces staining the umbilical wound.

Especially if your baby’s umbilical cord is wet during bath time, you should dry it with a cotton swab before taking care of it. Do not let your baby soak in the bath before the umbilical cord falls off. You can wash the upper half of your baby’s body first and then wash the lower half after drying.

2. Pay attention to observation.

Within 24 hours after the umbilical cord is ligated, parents should closely observe any bleeding. Some newborn babies will have a small amount of ooze or blood due to the umbilical cord ligature’s loosening. If you find that the gauze covering the umbilical cord is contaminated with blood or wet, you should ask the doctor to re-sterilize the ligature immediately.

3. Pay attention to disinfection.

  • Every day after bathing, disinfect with 75% alcohol and wipe from the center of the umbilical cord in a spiral shape to the surrounding area, not back and forth, to not bring the bacteria on the surrounding skin into the umbilical cord.
  • After the newborn baby’s umbilical cord falls off, and there will be a layer of scab at the root. After the scab falls off, there will be moist or rice-soup-like liquid oozing out locally, so parents can use a sterilized cotton swab dipped in 75% alcohol to wipe it off.

Unusual situation: If you find fleshy buds, purulent discharge, redness, and swelling as well as foul smell at the root of the umbilical cord and redness and swelling of the umbilical wheel, it means that it has inflammation, and you should seek early treatment from a doctor to prevent the condition from deteriorating.

Newborn Baby’s Belly Button Bleeding

The mother should first observe whether there is redness around the baby’s umbilicus. If there is simply a little blood seepage, it is not a big problem. In some cases, it may be due to improper care, as the rubbing of clothes or blankets may break the blood scab just formed on the belly button, causing it to bleed. This is the time for parents to take good care of their baby’s belly button. The clothes and blankets that you wear for your baby must be soft.

When the belly button bleeds, parents should wipe away the blood with a clean cotton swab and then wrap the umbilicus with sterile gauze. Usually, it will heal in a few days, and there is no need to use hemostatic drugs, but attention should be paid to the dryness of the navel.

Newborn Baby’s Navel is Running Out Liquid

It is usual for a newborn’s healing umbilical cord stump to ooze a clear or yellowish sticky liquid. Usually, after the umbilical cord has fallen off naturally, the navel fossa will be somewhat moist, and a little rice-soup-like liquid will ooze out. This is because the umbilical cord’s surface that has fallen off has not entirely grown, and the liquid in the granulation tissue has oozed out. Mom and dad need to use 75% alcohol to wipe it clean gently, and the umbilical fossa will be dry in about 2~3 days. Then gently wipe the umbilical cord stump with dry gauze to speed up the belly button’s healing.

If, after the above treatment, the umbilicus is still flowing, and the fluid exuded looks like pus or has a foul odor, it is an abnormal phenomenon, and parents should take their child to the hospital for timely treatment to avoid infection.

Inflammation Of The Newborn’s Belly Button

Suppose the baby’s umbilical cord falls off late. In that case, the umbilical cord’s jelly tissue will also quickly become a place for bacteria to breed and cause inflammation in the baby’s umbilicus. The belly button’s inflammation will initially reveal redness and swelling of the umbilicus and surrounding tissues, with sticky or purulent discharge and a foul odor. If left untreated, it can cause cellulitis of the abdominal wall, forming abscesses and necrosis, and bacteria can invade the blood circulation along the umbilical vessels that have not yet closed, causing sepsis.

If the belly button inflammation symptoms are not very serious, parents can help the baby wipe it with 75% alcohol and keep it dry and clean.

When the skin around the baby’s belly button becomes red and swollen, the skin surface can feel slightly warm when touched with the hand, and purulent secretions with foul smell appear in the umbilical fossa. The baby also shows anorexia, vomiting, and fever, which means that the baby’s umbilicus has become septic. If there is a lot of pus, you should take your baby to the hospital every day to change the dressing and use antibacterial drugs in time under the doctor’s guidance. Once an abscess is formed, it should be incised and drained to avoid further deterioration of the situation.

What to Do If Baby’s Umbilical Cord Does Not Fall Off?

After the fetus’s birth, the umbilical cord is tied, and the stump turns brownish-white for a few hours, then gradually dries up, thins out, turns black, and eventually falls off.

Under normal circumstances, most newborns’ umbilical cords fall off at different times depending on the baby’s condition, usually 1-2 weeks after birth. If your baby’s umbilical cord has not fallen off after two weeks, it is essential to observe the umbilical cord’s condition. If there are any abnormalities, it is recommended to take the baby to the hospital for consultation.

What to Do If the Newborn’s Umbilical Cord Turn Red?

During shedding the umbilical cord stump, the four sides of the umbilical cord often appear slightly red, which is a normal phenomenon in shedding the umbilical cord stump and is nothing to worry about. However, if the belly button and the four sides of the skin become very red and the skin feels hot when touched by hand, the belly button is likely infected, and you should take the baby to the doctor in time.


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