Did you know that, according to an article published in The Times of India in 2011, 51 babies are born in India every minute? In fact, Uttar Pradesh has about 11 babies born every minute alone, a figure only China exceeds by a small margin.
The foetus in the womb receives nourishment through the placenta, which is attached to the uterus wall. This placenta is connected to the baby by way of the umbilical cord. After the infant’s birth, this cord is clamped and cut away, leaving behind a small stump.
A baby’s stump will automatically drop off in just about a week’s time. When the baby is born, a plastic clamp or a tie is usually out on the stump to help it heal. This tie is left on for a few days until it dries and seals itself; eventually it will shrivel up and then drop off. There will be a small wound that will soon heal in a couple of weeks.
How Should I Care for My Baby’s Stump?
Regardless of whether you have chosen to store the baby’s stem cells, the umbilical cord stump has to be kept clean and dry to prevent any sort of infection. Here are a few recommendations that you can use while taking care of your child.
1. While giving your baby a bath, it is safe to get the stump wet and this will not slow the healing process.
2. Your baby’s stump can be washed with plain water. If required, add a mild and unperfumed baby soap or a pH neutral baby cleanser to the bathwater. Gently pat the stump with a soft towel or cloth to get it dry, before putting on a diaper or nappy.
3. Using an antiseptic is not required. It is quite sufficient if it is left clean and dry. The use of antiseptics might cause the stub to take longer to fall.
4. Always ensure that you handle your infant’s stump with clean and dry hands. It is a good idea to wash your hands every time you want to handle your baby.
5. Avoid dressing you child in tight body suits. Have them wear loose t-shirts to allow sufficient air circulation, which will speed up the drying process. Ensure that you tuck the diaper or nappy below the umbilical cord stump.
6. Let the stump come off naturally. Do not pull it off even if it is just hanging by a thread. Doing this might cause the region to get inflated or swollen.
7. When the stump eventually falls off, you might spot a little blood. This is completely normal and can be cleaned when you give your child a bath.
Umbilical cord stump infections are quite rare, but be sure to contact your doctor if there is any swelling or redness around that area or if the stub becomes weepy, along with emitting an odour.