Your baby is now finally in your arms. But wait, there’s still a small bit of umbilical cord still attached to her. Here’s what you should know about it:
Why and how long it’s going to be there All throughout your pregnancy, your baby’s lifeline was the umbilical cord. It provided all the life giving nutrients your baby needed to grow. Once he’s out and about in the world, shortly after you give birth, a nurse will have to cut the umbilical cord from you and your baby. But there will be a piece of it still attached to your baby’s belly button.
Little by little it will dry up and shrivel, says BabyCentre. It will also change color from a yellowish-green to brown or black -- don’t be alarmed by this. Finally, it will fall off, which usually happens between 7 to 10 days, pediatrician Dr. Ina Atutubo toldSmartParenting.com.ph. Don’t be tempted to pull it off! The healed wound will be your baby’s belly button. But, until then, the area has to be kept clean and dry to prevent infections.
How to care for baby’s umbilical cord stump The first rule to caring for your baby’s umbilical cord stump is to wash your hands with soap and water before you handle the area. It is recommended that you stick to sponge baths for your baby until the cord falls off, but you can clean the belly button area with soap and water. Dr. Atutubo says that water will not enter the umbilical cord into your baby’s abdomen. After washing, remember to quickly but gently pat the area dry.
Avoid using a belly binder or “bigkis” on your baby as well. “Covering the umbilical area keeps in moisture, which is a perfect environment for bacterial growth. Also, keeping it covered may prevent you from noticing a starting infection,” says Dr. Atubo. Elders will say it’s necessary to keep your baby’s insides from falling out or bulging, or what is clinically known as an umbilical hernia. However, umbilical hernias are common in newborns and are typically harmless, says Mayo Clinic. It will disappear as your baby grows older and develops stronger abdominal muscles.
“Refrain from applying different herbs onto your baby’s pusod, like garlic, banana or bayabas leaves,” says Dr. Atutubo. Taping a coin over your baby’s belly button will not prevent or cure a hernia either. Whether your baby will have an “outie” or “innie” belly button will depend largely on your and your partner’s own belly buttons, too.
What to do when it falls off Your baby’s umbilical cord stump has finally fallen off! If you notice drops of blood in the area, simply dab it away with a clean cloth or wash the area with soap and water. And, even though it’s gone, you should still keep the belly button area clean and dry.
If you see bits of tissue left in your baby’s belly button, this may be an umbilical granuloma, says WebMD. It’s also harmless and a visit to the doctor will painlessly and quickly solve it. When to worry Consult a pediatrician if your baby’s belly button area becomes tender, swollen or emits a foul odor. These may be signs of an infection. Other signs to watch out for is a fever and vomiting, and if an umbilical hernia is causing your baby pain. If your baby’s umbilical area doesn’t seem to be healing, have it checked by a doctor as well.