A part of the umbilical cord is attached to the baby's belly when your little one comes home from the hospital. Soon after your baby enters the world, the doctor will cut the umbilical cord to collect the cord blood stem cells, leaving a small stump attached to your baby's navel.

You should take certain preventive measures to keep it clean and infection-free until it falls off. Keep reading to know how to care for your newborn's umbilical cord – and calm your new-parent nerves!

What is an Umbilical Cord Stump?

An umbilical cord stump is a small part of the umbilical cord left near the baby's belly button when the cord is clamped and cut after delivery. Cutting the umbilical cord is prompt and painless, as it has no nerve endings. The stump will usually dry, turn dark brown, harden, and fall off at the end within 7 to 21 days.

Umbilical Cord Care: Things You Should Know

Umbilical cord care is imperative to prevent irritation or any possible infection. Once the umbilical cord is cut down, it is processed for cord blood banking , allowing your little one to enjoy additional security with the parent's permission. Here are some tips to take care of your newborn's umbilical cord:

  • Keep the area dry

Keeping the baby's umbilical cord as dry as possible is important. You have to expose the baby's umbilical cord stump into the air as often as possible to dry the base of the cord. It will accelerate the natural healing process. If you have given a bath to the baby, make sure to dry the navel area completely. Rubbing it dry with clothes might cause irritation. You can dress your baby in a shirt and diaper whenever possible, letting out the air from the area as much as possible.

  • Settle on sponge baths

Avoid bathing your little one in a sink or any special tub until the umbilical cord has fallen off. In the early days of delivery, use sponge baths. Dip a soft washcloth in lukewarm water and wipe the baby from head to toe. Gently clean the base of the stump with a damp, clean washcloth.

  • Wear the diaper below the cord

When it comes to caring for your newborn, especially during those early days after pregnancy, it's essential to pay attention to every detail. One crucial aspect is choosing the right newborn diapers. Opt for diapers available in the market that come with special cutouts for the cord area on the front. This feature can be incredibly helpful in keeping the diaper away from your baby's healing umbilical cord stump, reducing the risk of irritation or infection. If, for some reason, you can't find diapers designed with these cutouts, a handy pregnancy tips is to fold the diaper down carefully to create a barrier between the diaper and the cord stump. This simple adjustment can make a significant difference in ensuring your baby's comfort and well-being during those precious early days.

  • Avoid using alcohol

Decades ago, new parents were often advised to clean the umbilical cord area using cotton swabs and rubbing alcohol. They believe alcohol can destroy certain bacteria that will dry out the cord and help it get separated from the little one's body. However, it is no longer the case. Alcohol is believed to cause skin irritation and might delay healing.

  • Allow natural healing

As a new parent, you might be tempted to help the cord dry out and make it fall, especially when it appears to be hanging on merely by a thread. But according to healthcare professionals, it is best when it happens naturally. Hence, keep yourself refrained from picking or pulling the cord off alone.

  • Watch out for warning signs

While it is rare, infection and other complications in the umbilical cord might occur at certain times. If you notice any of the following symptoms in your little one, seek immediate attention from your healthcare provider.

  • The umbilical cord stump hasn't fallen off even after three weeks -

It could be a symptom of a potential underlying problem like any infection or autoimmune disorder.

  • Smelly yellow discharge and red swollen skin at the base of the cord -

It could be a symptom of infection, which tenders the skin near the cord.

  • Umbilical hernia –

Baby's belly button appears to be pushed out when they cry. It is usually healed by 18 months. However, if it isn't healed even after 3-5 years of age, doctors might recommend surgery to treat it.

Wrapping Up!

Caring for your baby's umbilical cord is not as intimidating as you think. However, most millennial parents think it is no longer needed once their little one is born. However, it's not the case.

Do you want to give your little one the safest welcome in the world? Then it's time to opt for umbilical cord preservation. Since it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, you must do it right. With advanced and secure cord blood collection methods at Cryoviva, India's best cord blood banking facility, you can ensure your baby's stem cells stay safe for a lifetime and are retrieved easily when needed. Get in touch with the Cryoviva experts to know more about umbilical preservation!