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Baby belly button: cleaning, dressing and dropping of the umbilical stump.

For an attentive mother like you, here is the guide that explains how to dress your baby's umbilical stump, clean the newborn's navel scar and know when to notify the pediatrician if the navel does not fall, stinks, if there are smelly umbilical secretions, what to do in case of infection, if it bleeds, if it stinks or is red

Baby belly button, baby cord
Baby belly button, baby cord

Baby cord

The umbilical cord during pregnancy ensures the survival of the fetus by providing it with nutrients, oxygen and eliminating waste. After the birth of the baby, following the cut of the umbilical cord, the blood vessels that cross it will close in a short time and the umbilical cord of a few centimeters will remain attached to the belly of the baby, closed with a cord clamp, destined to dry up and fall after a short time. After the cord is cut, the drying or mummification process begins: the cord dries, becoming hard and opaque until it falls spontaneously. Well mom, let's see together how to take care of your baby's umbilical stump and recognize if something is wrong.

Umbilical stump after birth

The umbilical cord is the last memory of your baby's life in utero and after its cut it needs to be cleaned and medicated at least once a day. A dirty navel could promote infection of the stump itself and inflammation of the surrounding area. During hospitalization, the dressing of the cord is done by hospital staff but, once at home, you will need to take care of it so that it dries properly and detaches from the baby's belly. At each dressing you will have to make sure that the umbilical scar does not redden and that the whole process of falling off the stump takes place in an optimal manner

Cleaning the umbilical cord

During the first days after birth, Wharton's jelly is clearly visible in the umbilical stump which gives it a slightly transparent appearance and a semi-soft consistency. During this phase the umbilical cord must be medicated with 12-volume hydrogen peroxide to be used to sanitize the base of the cord and with alcohol to disinfect only the umbilical cord. Some pediatricians advise not to use any disinfectant for cleaning the cord, judging this practice is now old, it will be your choice to decide whether or not to use a disinfectant for the umbilical stump or no substance for cleansing. The dressing of the umbilical cord must be done with a sterile gauze compress soaked, firstly cleaning the area around the stump in order to remove any secretions present and then the entire length of the cord itself. Frequent and careful cleaning of the umbilical cord prevents the risk of infections, inflammation and sepsis. After disinfection, the umbilical cord is wrapped in a sterile gauze and held in place with an umbilical retina to be changed at least once a day and every time it becomes dirty with urine or feces of the newborn. With the passing of the days the umbilical cord becomes harder and harder with a yellowish color, in this second phase cleaning with alcohol is no longer necessary as a prolonged dressing that wets the drying cord can delay the drying of the stump itself. It will be sufficient to clean the area around the baby's navel from various residues and keep it dry and as exposed to the air as possible in order to promote dehydration of the umbilical cord and detachment. After cleaning, the cord should be protected with a sterile gauze and if you prefer by a net to be changed often. Medicating the navel does not cause any pain or discomfort to the newborn.

Umbilical cord dressing

Well, let's see step by step how to do the umbilical stump dressing.

  • Wash and dry your hands;

  • Fold or unfold the diaper tabs;

  • Clean the area surrounding the navel with a gauze soaked in hydrogen peroxide or physiological solution, removing the umbilical secretions;

  • Clean only the part of the stump with a sterile gauze soaked in denatured alcohol;

  • Let the freshly cleaned funiculus air dry for a few minutes;

  • Wrap the entire segment of the cord with dry sterile gauze.

Do not worry if the baby cries during the dressing, does not feel any pain, is just annoyed by contact with the gauze or with the mother's cold hands.

Umbilical cord dressing and diaper change

If the umbilical cord is kept dry and exposed to air, its healing will be faster so when you put the diaper on the baby you have to be careful. To prevent the stump in mummification from getting wet with pee, it is good to fold the diaper on the front or cut it so that it does not cover the navel. In the phase in which the cord is still attached, dress it with t-shirts that you can easily raise and lower instead of the classic one-piece suits in order to prevent the diaper from crawling on the crust of the baby's navel by detaching the small crusts that form in the peri-umbilical area. If the gauze in which the stump is wrapped gets wet with pee or dirty with feces, you can safely wash the umbilical cord with running water, but immediately afterwards, dry the cord and the area around the navel thoroughly with a soft towel and keep it for a while in contact with the air. Once this is done, wrap the dry stump again in the sterile gauze.

Umbilical cord and baby bath

Many mothers wonder if they can bathe their newborn with the cord attached. It was once said that until the stump falls off you shouldn't bathe your baby, but that's not really true. If the cord is not detached, the baby can take quick showers or baths, after which it will be sufficient to dry the baby's navel thoroughly and keep it exposed to the air to evaporate any residual water. The advice always remains that to accelerate the detachment of the abutment it must be kept as dry as possible. If the baby is not really dirty or sweaty, you can opt for sponge cleansers in order to preserve the quick detachment of the stump.

Umbilical cord fall

When does the umbilical cord fall out? The fall of the umbilical cord is a spontaneous process that should never be forced and generally occurs 15 - 20 days after birth. As the days go by, the part of the stump attached to the navel becomes thin, hard and blackish in color. It is not uncommon for a yellowish and creamy substance to form around the attachment of the navel with the cord that does not give off a bad smell. This is the mummification process of the cord which is absolutely physiological and normal. If the cord does not come off after a long time from birth, it is good to notify the pediatrician. When the umbilical cord is detached, a few drops of blood may appear but don't worry, it's completely normal. After the cord falls off, it will be necessary to continue dressing the wound area for a few days until it heals completely. The dressing to the navel of the newborn should be done with a dry egret, taking care to remove any fallen crusts. At this stage, the pediatrician may recommend putting a few drops of chromium mercury or a healing spray such as Katoxyn on the navel wound.

When to contact the pediatrician?

If you notice signs of infection on the stump or the child feels pain when touching the part, it is always good to notify the pediatrician.

It is necessary to consult the pediatrician in these circumstances:

  • The cord does not detach after 20 days from birth;

  • The newborn's abdomen is red with an inflamed navel;

  • The newborn feels pain when you touch the area around the navel;

  • There are foul-smelling umbilical secretions or pus;

  • You often find traces of blood from the baby belly button.

Infection of the baby belly button

The presence of greenish yellow umbilical secretions is almost always a sign of infection of the stump. If the newborn has the umbilical cord that stinks with the leakage of liquid from the navel, it is always necessary to contact the pediatrician. Smell your baby's cord frequently: if the navel stinks, it smells bad, it is a sign that something is wrong with the probability that there is an infectious process.

Blood from the navel

A few drops of blood from the navel, especially when it comes off, is absolutely normal, but continuous loss is not normal. If you often notice traces of blood in the gauze in which the cord is wrapped, check if the umbilical clamp is properly closed and consult your pediatrician in a very short time.

Protruding navel

If, once the baby's navel has healed, it assumes a protruding shape that becomes particularly evident when the baby cries or strains, it could be an umbilical hernia. The umbilical hernia of the newborn should not cause particular concern because it generally resolves spontaneously within the first two months of life by putting an umbilical hernia belt on the newborn.

Umbilical granuloma

If a fleshy growth appears between the stump and the navel of the newborn, producing a secretion similar to pus, it is a granuloma. Umbilical granuloma is a small reddish nodule ranging in size from 1 mm to 1 cm, moist and rounded, located between the skin folds of the navel, which forms as a result of a cord infection or a significant delay in falling. The treatment is based on the application in the granuloma of a silver nitrate pencil that burns the neoformation, or by applying a preparation with salicylate sugar always under pediatric prescription.

Navel reddened

If the area around the navel is very swollen and red it could be omphalitis. Omphalitis is a rather rare infection due to a bacterium, Staphylococcus Aureus, which can cause fever in the newborn. Antibiotic therapy quickly eliminates umbilical omphalitis infection.

Products for the dressing of the stump

Here are the useful products for cord dressing, by clicking on them you can buy them.

Dear mom I hope this guide has been of help to you, it is normal to feel unseated during the first care of the little one, you will see that in a short time the gestures of every day will become a moment of sweet pampering with your baby.

Don't forget to always trust your mommy instincts.

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