Umbilical Cord Care
During pregnancy, the umbilical cord transports nutrients and oxygen to the baby. After birth however, the cord is no longer needed so it is clamped and snipped. This stump takes about one to two weeks to dry and fall off. Proper care is however needed to prevent infection and irritation.
How do I care for my baby’s umbilical cord ?
Take these steps to prevent an infection or irritation of your baby’s umbilical cord.
Keep the area clean : It used to be recommended by pediatricians to clean the base of the cord with rubbing alcohol. However, it is now believed that leaving the umbilical cord alone makes it heal faster and prevents irritation caused by alcohol. You may also use Goldenseal Root and Echinacea. It is better to consult your pediatrician on his or her recommendations on how to care for the umbilical stump.
Keep the stump dry : Keep the base of the umbilical stump dry by exposing it to air. This can be done by folding the front of your baby’s diaper to prevent it from covering the stump. Dress your baby in diapers and t-shirts if the weather permits.
Give sponge baths only : Do not bath your baby in the tub or sink until the umbilical cord completely falls off. Sponge baths are the best during this healing process.
Allow the cord to naturally heal : Do not pull the cord off even if it is hanging by only a thread. It is best to allow this process to happen on it’s own.