How to care for an umbilical stump

When your baby is born the midwife will cut and clamp the umbilical cord leaving a short stump. In a week to ten days after the birth of your baby, the stump will shrivel up, turn black and drop off; leaving a small wound that is your baby’s tummy button.

Many parents can be a little daunted and worried about their baby’s umbilical cord stump and be worried about it becoming sore or infected.

 umbilical stump

There are certain steps that you can take to care for an umbilical stump and reduce the risk of your baby’s umbilical stump becoming infected. Read the following tips to help prevent infection occurring in this exceptionally sensitive area of your baby.

* Wash the umbilical stump as regularly as possible by either giving your baby a warm bath or gently cleaning it with a warm damp sponge or flannel. Wetting and washing the area regularly will help keep it clean and free of infection.

* You can either wash the stump with plain warm water or add a PH neutral baby cleanser to the water. Never use fragranced soap or cleanser that is not PH neutral as this may aggravate the wound.

* After you have washed the area always ensure that you dry the umbilical stump completely before putting your baby’s nappy on. Never rub the area, only pat dry it with a soft clean towel.

* Always fold the top front part of the nappy down as this will, not only expose the wound to the air to help it heal quicker, but it will also prevent any urine or faeces coming in to contact with the stump.

* Always wash your hands before and after you bathe the area or change your             baby’s nappy.

* You may be tempted to try and pull off your baby’s umbilical stump but
always let it fall off naturally to reduce the chances of infection.