The umbilical cord is a tube-like structure that binds the unborn child to the mom’s uterus. Immediately after the birth the umbilical cord is clamped and cut. This procedure is painless but after cutting of the umbilical cord a small stump is left behind. This stump is of bluish colour and is about a quarter inch to an inch wide in size.
After the birth, the cord stump usually takes almost 1-2 weeks to dry and fall of its own. However proper care is needed while the baby has the stump attached to it. Preventing irritation and infection of the cord stump will require a little care and attention.
Most of the time, in the first few days after birth, the umbilical cord stump dries up and falls off. However, in some cases it may sometimes lead to infection. This can trigger swelling and inflammation of the region around the cord. Cord may discharge some pale and foul smelling liquid from the swelling. Oozing or mild bleeding may also occur.
At this point the paediatrician will prescribe some medicines. Along with that following directions will be advised for taking proper care of cord at home in order to cure the infection as soon as possible.
Cleaning the cord stump
Paediatricians might advise to clean the cord stump by rubbing alcohol. However, sometimes alcohol causes irritation to some of the babies. At that time the doctor might advice you for some alternative methods such as cleaning the pus with moist cloth or cotton swab. Then apply ointment after cleaning the area.
Maintain the cord stump dry
Keep the cord exposed to the air. This enables the cord base to dry quickly and decreases the period of time needed to heal. Use diapers with a unique cut or fold the diaper of your baby at the area will assist maintain your cord infection from getting worse.
Provide sponge baths
Do not give showers to your child until the umbilical cord has dried and fall off. Even if your child is taking a shower, cover the cord region entirely to keep it dry. Also, you must not wipe the cord area to keep it clean as it may lead to irritation.
Let the Umbilical Cord Heal Naturally
When the cord is hanging, you might think to pick out the dried cord, but it is harmful. So, keep it as it is and let it dry out by its own. Resist yourself from pulling off the cord stump.
As the cord stump is drying, you can usually see a little amount of blood near the area of cord stump. When the cord stump falls out it might bleed a bit, but don’t worry it happens. On the other hand, if you find that the area of the cord stump is oozing pus, the skin swells up and become red or it develops a red lump, then immediately contact with the doctor. Immediate consultation and treatment are necessary at this point to prevent spreading of the infection. This will help you understand the underlying issue of causing the infection and to know about the remedies to cure the infection.