What to do with your baby’s umbilical stump

After you give birth to your baby, your doctor will clamp the umbilical cord before snipping it off. This is a painless process that will leave your baby with just a small stump of two to three cm long. The umbilical stump will eventually shrivel and fall off, leaving your baby with a cute belly button. Many new parents are worried about how to take care of the stump, but caring for it isn’t all that hard and shouldn’t be a cause of worry.

Caring for the umbilical stump

Here are some tips to follow when handling your baby’s umbilical stump. Mostly, it is a matter of maintaining high levels of hygiene and avoiding discomfort for the baby.

  • Use the antiseptic tissue or powder your hospital gives you. If you weren’t given any, it’s fine, as it’s not really necessary — just an optional tool.Just be sure to keep the area clean and dry.
  • Wash your hands before touching your baby’s umbilical stump or carrying out any activity that can involve contact, like changing a diaper.
  • Fold your diaper away from the umbilical stump so that you don’t any get feces or urine anywhere near it. If you accidentally do, you can just wash it off with mild soap and then use the antiseptic wipe.
  • You can give your baby a bath if you like, but know that you don’t need to bathe your baby everyday as a simple warm wipe down can suffice.

You may be worried about possible infections, but these are usually rare. Don’t worry about any scabs or pus you may see on the stump as that is part of the healing process from when the umbilical cord was cut. You should be concerned only if the stump is red and swollen, causes pain and/or if your baby is suffering from an unexplained fever.

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Find out when the umbilical stump will fall off on the next page…