Babies receive nourishment and oxygen in the womb through placenta, which is connected to the inner wall of the uterus of the mother. The placenta is connected to the baby by umbilical cord through an opening in the baby’s abdomen. After the baby is born, the cord is clamped and cut close to the baby’s body. Thus a small portion of the cord is left attached with the baby’s navel. Cutting the cord is painless. The portion of cord left attached with the baby, dries itself and drop off within 10-20 days. When drying its color may change, this is a normal phenomenon.
Newborn umbilical cord care to prevent infection
- After birth it is washed with antiseptic within an hour in hospital.
- In a newborn this area is very delicate and special care is must be taken. To clean this area just wipe around the button gently with a dry and soft cloth.
- If the area is dirty and its necessary to clean it, wipe the area gently with a soft clean wet cloth and then with a soft dry cloth, in order to keep it dry.
- Umbilical cord should be kept clean and dry. To heal it fast let it be exposed to air.
- The diaper should be tied below the navel and the upper shirt should be of loose fitting. Avoid under shirt until the cord drops off. Cloths of the baby should be properly washed and hygienic.
- Baby skin in this stage is very sensitive. Its better to give sponge bath until the cord drop off, to avoid from getting it wet.
- Don’t use any powder or lotion. Never try to pull it out. Let it to dry and drop off naturally, otherwise it may get infected.
Umbilical cord infection symptoms
Sometimes around the cord swelling and some discharge is normal. Even after the cord drops off , it may happen. There is nothing to worry about. With the advice of doctor you can use silver nitrate powder. If we take all these precautions, this can be prevented from infection.
If following signs of belly button infection are observed, don’t neglect and go to doctor:
- There is bad odor or odorous discharge from the navel, its infection.
- Irritation around it with fever.
- After drying of the cord little bleeding is normal but too much bleeding means something wrong.
- After dropping off the cord, swelling, moisture and continuous yellow green pus around the area may be symptoms of umbilical granuloma. Consult the doctor immediately. It can be treated with medicine or even stitches might be required.
- Protruding tissues around navel area means it is umbilical hernia. It can be treated under doctor’s supervision.
With the help of proper awareness and understanding, new parents can handle the care of this delicate and sensitive area of a new born baby.