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  • What you Need to Know about the ”Bigkis” and Pusod

    Learn the benefits of the bigkis or belly binder and more about umbilical cord care.
    by Ina Atutubo, MD .
To read this story in Tagalog, click here.
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    On the matter of hygiene, it has been said that the bigkis will help prevent infections in the abdominal area, especially the pusod. While some studies may claim the efficacy of such, it is still in the recommendations of both the Philippine Pediatric Society (PPS) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to regularly clean the umbilical cord and allow it to air-dry, as this is the fastest, safest and easiest way for the umbilical stump to fall off without any complications. In fact, 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.

    Here are a few tips on keeping baby’s pusod clean and infection-free:

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    • If the umbilical stump is still attached, wash your hands with soap and water first before handling the pusod.  If there is poop or urine on the cord, wash it with soap and water as well. Don’t worry about water going inside your baby’s abdomen; it won’t.
    • Lightly dab the area dry with a towel and allow to air-dry. 
    • It is recommended to stick to sponge baths until the cord falls off, usually between 7-10 days. There should be no pus, no foul odor, no redness, no swelling around the umbilical area when the stump has fallen off. 
    • Though not recommended anymore, it is still common practice to use 70% ethyl alcohol on a cotton bud to clean the area. 
    • Refrain from applying different herbs onto your baby’s pusod, like garlic or banana or bayabas leaves. Also, if you suspect an infection, avoid sprinkling it with antibiotics; instead, consult your pediatrician for the best way to treat it.  
    • If the umbilical stump has fallen off, you might notice some drops of dried blood on the area. Simply wipe it off with a clean cloth or wash with soap and water during a full tub bath. Keep the area clean using soap and water as necessary, and dry at all times.  


    Remember that the abdomen is an accessory muscle for breathing, and putting the bigkis on too tightly may constrict baby’s airway. If you wish to use one on your infant, wrap the bigkis on loosely so as not to impinge or hamper the breathing pattern.

    Most likely, your mother or grandmother will still advise you to use the bigkis on your baby. If you can, try to convince her against it for the reasons stated above and based on improvements in modern medicine. However, if an argument is inevitable, put it on anyway, but very loosely. Maybe there’s no harm after all if we heed our elders’ advice. Just be wise and well informed, and when in doubt, ask your pediatrician.

     

    Click here to read more.

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