The first question you could ask may be regarding the purpose of the umbilical cord. The purpose of it is to offer to the baby oxygen and nourishment through the placenta.
This is linked to the wall of the mother’s uterus. The baby is linked to the placenta by the cord and there is an opening on the belly of the baby.
Once the baby gets born, the baby’s umbilical cord is cut and it is clamped close to the body of the little one.
This is a painless procedure for the baby since there are no nerve endings in the cord and after this there will be a stump left on the belly of the baby that later will fall off.
How long does the baby has the umbilical cord?
As it has been mentioned, when you take the baby home, he or she will still have the stump.
The time period for which it stays on varies from one baby to the other, but usually it falls off after 10-21 days. After this there will be a small wound which takes a few days to be healed.
Any special care for the baby’s umbilical cord?
When thinking about how to care for the wound left by the umbilical cord you should make sure that it is kept dry and clean. It is important for the diaper of the little one to be folded under the belly button so that the wound gets fresh air and it doesn’t get in contact with urine.
Just as in case of other wounds, the baby’s umbilical cord could also cause some bleeding when it falls off but this is something absolutely normal. During this period you shouldn’t bathe the baby in the tub until the wound is totally healed.
If the weather is warm when the umbilical cord falls off, the baby should only have the diaper and a loose shirt on so that air can circulate around the skin. The little one shouldn’t wear bodysuits until the cord falls off. Remember never to pull the cord even when it looks like it is barely hanging.
Once the baby’s umbilical cord falls off it is possible that there will be some tissues left. Most probably this will disappear on its own, but in other cases a doctor should see the baby. These are known as umbilical glaucoma and they don’t have nerves so the treatment isn’t painful.
To prevent infection caused by umbilical cord, usually the doctors swab it with alcohol. When the cord is clamped and cut the doctors use alcohol or some other kind of antiseptic. When you take the baby home, you should clean around the stump with rubbing alcohol 1-2 times per day.
The baby’s umbilical cord can be treated with the help of a cotton swab or some gauze. Nonetheless there are some specialists who say that the cord should be left to dry on its own.
According to a study if the cord isn’t treated it falls off after 8 days, while the treated ones fall off after 10 days.
Still there are some pros regarding swabbing the umbilical cord with alcohol. There are some parents who don’t like the ‘goopiness’ and the smell of the cord that hasn’t been swabbed.
So it is debatable whether those one or two days are worth it or parents should go on swabbing.
What to use?
If you opt for swabbing the baby’s umbilical cord, you could be using alcohol, but also hydrogen peroxide. This is something to ask your doctor about. In some cases you can use both, according to what you have at hand. Some specialists say to start with alcohol and then switch to peroxide for faster drying.
When treating the umbilical cord, you should start with gathering everything that you need. In many cases the parents treat the cord when they change the diaper. Keep in mind that sometimes these substances can stain the clothing of the baby so it is best to undress him or her.
Many parents opt for using cotton swabs when treating the baby’s umbilical cord instead of a cotton ball because it reaches further into the belly button of the baby. Hold the swab in one hand and use the other one to press down on the side of the belly button.
There are some things to keep in mind regarding the umbilical cord. If you observe a foul smell coming from the cord, if the baby has a fever or if there is redness around the belly button you should contact the doctor. It is possible that the cord got infected and the baby needs to be treated.
You may see that there is a lot to know about the care of the umbilical cord to keep the baby safe.