Keeping Baby’s Umbilical Cord From Getting Infected

Keeping Baby’s Umbilical Cord From Getting Infected

Throughout your entire pregnancy, your baby receives nutrients from you through your umbilical cord. Once your baby is ready to make his or her debut and enter the world, it’s time to “cut the cord” literally so they can start feeding on their own. After birth, your baby will have a small blue and purple stump coming out of their belly button from where the umbilical cord was attached. Typically, it is about ½ to 1 inch long in size and will stay in place for 1-2 weeks.

After that, when the cord is ready, it will dry up and fall off. However, in those first two weeks, there are several things that you will need to do in order to keep this area clean and safe before it’s ready to come off. The good news is, there are only a few small things you need to do to prevent infection during this time.

Keep Your Baby Clean 

If your baby is clean, then the umbilical cord area should be clean. But that doesn’t mean submerging your baby in a tub, just give them sponge baths until the cord falls off. While pediatricians used to recommend rubbing alcohol for this area, it can actually delay healing and irritate the skin.

Keep the Area Dry

Whenever possible, allow the cord to get a little air. When you can let the area breathe and air dry it will speed up the healing process and encourage the umbilical cord to dry up and fall off faster.

Get the Right Diapers 

There are plenty of newborn diapers out there that have a special cut out or fold in them that will allow the cord to breathe. This can prevent this delicate area from becoming overly irritated. 

Leave it Alone

Most of the time, it’s just best to just leave the cord alone and let nature do its work. While you may want to try and “help” the cord dry out and fall off, do your best to not pick or pull at it and let the cord fall off when the time is right.

Just make sure you are checking regularly for infections. Typically signs of infection include bleeding, a red or swollen base, oozing puss or a foul discharge. If you are worried that the area does look swollen or infected, don’t panic, but call your doctor right away and make an appointment.

If you still have any questions about your baby’s umbilical cord and what you can be doing to keep it clean and healthy contact us here Continuum Pediatrics. We are here to help with all of your baby-related questions and to make sure your little one stays as healthy as possible, especially during these early months. You can call our office directly at 817-617-8600 today for an appointment.