When your baby is in the womb they rely on the umbilical cord to allow the passage of nutrients and oxygen from mother to baby. Clearly once your baby is born this is no longer necessary and so the doctors place a plastic clamp on it and snip the connection. Delayed cord clamping is a whole other topic which I promise I will add to me ‘to do’ list!
The remains of the umbilical cord forms your gorgeous little babies new belly button. I won’t lie though.. in the early days it’s not the cutest or most adorable part of them!! The cord will change from whitish blue to a dark brown black colour as the excess tissue, which is no longer needed, dies. The cord can take anywhere from one to three weeks to fall off and it can look pretty delicate and concerning during this time period. The most important thing is not to rush it. Like a scab it will fall off when it is ready and if you disturb it you may cause a little wound or even infection. As my mother used to say growing up ‘don’t be at it’. Ok I’m not sure she ever spoke like that but for the purposes of this article I have decided she did!!!
How to care for your WonderBaba’s belly button?
- Be very gently with the cord making an effort not to get it caught in their clothes or nappy.
- Roll the front of your baby’s nappy down whilst the clamp is still attached so that it is not rubbing off it.
- Always wash your hands before touching your baby’s cord.
- You do not need to use any product to clean your babies cord.
- Once a day (if even!) you can pat the area very gently with water and a cotton pad and let it dry by itself by leaving it exposed to the air for a few minutes.
- Clean it in the same way if a nappy leaks and urine etc makes contact with the area.
- In warm weather you can dress your child in a nappy and t-shirt rather than a clipping vest so that the air can circulate around the cord area to help it dry up and heal. Always remember to make sure your child is warm enough – so this tip isn’t always practical with our weather!
- Don’t apply creams or lotions to the area surrounding your baby’s cord.
- Try not to bathe your baby too much during the first couple of weeks whilst the cord is still in place – topping and tailing will do fine.
- Let the cord fall off on it’s own – do not pull or encourage it.
How to tell if your baby’s cord is infected?
When you consider that the cord will have to heal like any wound with a scab, it is understandable that a small amount of dried blood etc will be present. If however the area starts to smell, becomes red or hot and the wound starts to ooze yellow discharge then you should see the doctor in case the area has become infected.
I hope you found this information helpful and as always don’t hesitate to contact me on the WonderBaba website – www.wonderbaba.ie or on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/wonderbabacare) with any questions or for one to one advice for your little one! You can also consult with me in person at Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6 or over the phone on 012600262.