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Care of the Baby’s Umbilical Cord Stump
Most new mothers are afraid to handle the stump of their baby’s cord, but it is important to keep the base of the stump clean and dry to prevent infection. Most hospitals still recommend using alcohol wipes for cleaning. The use of antiseptic powder is not recommended now, as it may prevent the stump from falling.
Remember: it’s the base, not the stump, that needs to be kept clean!
1. Carefully hold the tip of the stump and wipe around the base with an alcohol wipe.
2. Let it appear for a few minutes before putting on the diaper. Keep the diaper folded under the cord to prevent urine from soaking it.
3. Never pull off the stump, even if it appears to be hanging by a thread. Cut the thread only with scissors.
4. When the stump falls off, there may be slight bleeding, which is normal.
5. Most western practices recommend bathing with a sponge only until the stump falls off. In fact, bathing your baby in the bathtub is fine if you dry the base and stem properly with a cloth and then clean it with an alcohol wipe.
6. If you have a baby boy, point the penis down when putting on the diaper so he doesn’t pee on the stump.
7. If you notice pus around the base, an unpleasant smell, red skin around the base, or the baby cries when you touch the cord, take the baby to the doctor, as these are signs of infection.
Sometimes after the stump falls, pieces of lumpy flesh remain. This is called a “polar granuloma,” which often goes away on its own. Sometimes it may require the baby to be treated by a doctor.
Some communities recommend spreading ridiculous things on the stump like incense, oil, cow dung, etc. It is dangerous to do this as it can only lead to infection, the most serious of which is tetanus.
You may be advised to put a belly band around your navel to prevent wind from entering your stomach. There is no connection between the navel and the stomach, so this cannot happen. The belly binder keeps the belly warm, so the baby is comfortable and doesn’t cry as much.
What to do with the stump?
Most people will tell you to “throw it away”. For sentimental reasons some of us might want to keep it in a little clear plastic bag and put it in the baby album along with the first hair loss, tooth and so on.
In some parts of Malaysia it is customary among the Malays to keep the umbilical cord of all children and when the parents do not want to have more children, the stumps of the cord are boiled and the water given to the children to drink. promote a closer sibling relationship.
If the area around your baby’s belly button bulges out when he cries, he may have an umbilical hernia. This is a small hole in the abdominal muscle that allows the tissue to bulge out when there is pressure inside the abdomen. It is not a serious condition and most people will get better in 12-18 months.
It can be very scary for parents when they look at the bulge, especially if it is quite large (in their eyes) while the doctor says it is small. Nothing needs to be done, just leave it alone and it will heal itself. Some parents may feel reassured by putting a tummy tuck over it so they can’t see the bulge when the baby cries.
It is ridiculous to put a coin in it, as some old wives claim, because the coin can slide back and cause pressure on the skin where the baby is lying on it. There it is. It’s very easy if you know how.
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