Inside the uterus, the baby gets it’s daily supply of oxygen and nutrients through the placenta. This membrane is similar to a tube that is attached to the placenta’s wall where the exchange of nutrients and oxygen happens. It is filled with a jelly-like substance and includes 2 arteries and 1 vein for the movement of all the essentials to and from the baby’s body.
After birth, the umbilical cord is then cut leaving at least an inch attached to the baby’s body. This remaining section of the umbilical cord is called a stump, which will automatically dry out and fall off a few days after the baby is delivered.
The stump is meant to be cleaned daily to avoid infection. In this article, we will be discussing some of the important things regarding umbilical cord care and other information related to the stump.
Back in the day, the stump was being cleaned using alcohol and water. However, as time changes, professionals have now switched to only using water to clean the stump which is deemed to be also as effective.
Keep on reading to learn more.
How Long Does It Take for The Umbilical Cord to Fall Off?
In normal circumstances, the umbilical stump dries and falls off one week after delivery and this could extend up until the third week in some cases. The stump, while it dries, turns black and there could be a MINIMAL discharge, this discharge is a sign of a healing wound. Any abnormal signs and symptoms such as excessive discharge or yellowish liquid from the location of the stump may signal infection.
What Are the Tips You Can Give Me To Properly Take Care Of The Cord Stump?
As first-time mothers, it can get quite intimidating to handle the stump or to clean it on your own because you might think that it is a truly delicate part of your baby’s body. Especially that it is definitely attached to the navel. However, fear not, as cleaning the umbilical stump is not as hard as you imagine it to be!
Here are a few tips to help you clean your baby’s stump for faster healing:
- Cleaning your baby’s umbilical stump does not require the use of any added soap or even alcohol. Lukewarm water or even a damp washcloth is enough to clean the area, removing dirt or any sticky residue covering the stump. The cleaning process can even be a part of the baby’s usual bathing routine.
- Keep the area dry at all times. Moisture can only aggravate the build-up or growth of bacteria and other microorganisms that can lead to an infection. After cleaning the umbilical stump, it is best to let the area air dry and avoid covering it up as much as possible to prevent accumulation of moisture. Letting it air dry also hastens wound healing.
- Stop touching the stump. Frequently touching the stump exposes it to bacteria that can cause infection. Stop picking on the scabs and let the stump heal naturally to prevent any bleeding or scarring around the area.
- Never ever pull the stump even if it’s already hanging loosely off the navel. Pulling off the stump causes bleeding which you do not want to happen.
How Will I Know If the Stump Is Infected?
There are factors that cause the stump to be infected. As much as possible, the factors listed below are the things you may want to avoid if you want to let the stump heal faster and avoid any signs of infection.
- There is a presence of abnormal discharge such as yellowish, reddish, or greenish substance oozing out of the belly button or stump.
- The umbilical stump feels hot to touch.
- The baby cries whenever the area is touched and this is a possible sign that there is pain or an unwanted sensation that aggravates the child.
- Fever is present and the baby is irritated even from mild stimulations from the environment.
- The baby may experience a decrease in appetite.
- If any of these signs and symptoms are present, the best course of action to take is to call the baby’s doctor immediately. The physician may prescribe a antibiotic to help deal with the infection.
What Should I Do After the Stump Falls Out?
After the cord stump falls out, you may notice a slight discharge like a blood-tinged substance that should be very minimal in amount. The area where the stump falls out appear raw, but this is something you do not need to worry about.
In some rare cases, the discharge after the cord falls out can be a bit yellowish in color due to the scarring around the area. Again, this is something not be worried about immediately as this clears up in a week. However, if the discharge prolongs and other symptoms such as fever and irritation is present, call the doctor immediately.
Keep in mind as well that if the stump does not automatically fall out by the time the baby reaches his or her 3rd week after delivery, you also need to call the doctor for prompt medical attention.
Author: Patricia Magno RN