When the first time a baby is born into the world, the first thing that the doctor will do is to cut the baby’s umbilical cord. This is done because when the baby is born, the baby does not need the umbilical cord anymore. The doctor must treat the former cut of the umbilical cord properly so infection does not occur that can endanger the baby’s life.
Then what are the advantages of the umbilical cord and how to take care of a baby’s umbilical cord after it is cut so that it dries quickly and no infection occurs? Let’s see the information!
Advantages of the Umbilical Cord in Babies
The umbilical cord is an essential organ for babies in the womb. The cord has a length of approximately 50 cm, connecting the baby with the mother. The umbilical cord extends from the hole in the baby’s belly to the placenta in the mother’s womb. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the umbilical cord is an integral part of the baby’s survival in the womb. This is because the umbilical cord carries nutrients and oxygen from the placenta to the bloodstream.
The baby’s umbilical cord also has a vital role in the growth and development of the baby in the womb. Besides carrying nutrients and oxygen, this umbilical cord is also a way for the mother to give antibodies to the baby, especially towards the end of pregnancy. These antibodies help provide immunity to the baby to protect against infection during the first three months of life.
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Umbilical Cord Condition After the Baby is Born
After the baby is born into the world, the umbilical cord is not needed anymore. Hence, after the baby is born, the doctor will pin and cut it using the tools provided. A few moments later, the blood vessels in the umbilical cord will usually close by themselves. This is to prevent the baby from losing blood.
When cutting the umbilical cord, doctors usually do not cut it entirely but leave 2-3 cm in the baby’s stomach. The rest of this piece will later form as the baby’s navel. After cutting, parents must take good care of the baby’s umbilical cord to dry and not cause infection.
How to take care of the baby’s umbilical cord after birth
To avoid infection, the doctor must appropriately treat the umbilical cord left in the baby’s stomach. After the umbilical cord is cut, it usually takes about 5 – 15 days to dry and heal completely. The umbilical cord will dry out, turn black and then fall off on its own. After removing the umbilical cord, it usually takes about 7-10 days for the baby’s navel to dry and return to normal.
A baby’s navel that is still wet or has not entirely healed is very important to keep clean. It would really help if you made sure the area was always dry. This is important to do to prevent infection in the baby’s navel. Therefore, you need to know how to properly care for the umbilical cord for newborns and avoid myths about the baby’s umbilical cord that have not been proven true.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, there are several ways to care for your baby’s umbilical cord, including:
1. Keep the baby’s umbilical cord clean
The first way to take care of your baby’s leftover umbilical cord is to make sure it’s always clean. You can clean the rest of the umbilical cord and surrounding baby skin at least once a day. You could use a cotton swab and dip in warm water to clean the belly button and its area. Make sure to do it slowly not to make the baby feel sick.
It is essential to avoid cleaning the umbilical cord using alcohol because it can irritate the baby’s skin. This can make the healing process longer. Clean the remaining umbilical cord and the area around it every day until the rest of the umbilical cord is completely healed, dry and detached.
2. Make sure the rest of the umbilical cord remains dry
The following way to treat the umbilical cord in newborns is to ensure the area remains dry until the rest of the baby’s umbilical cord is completely healed. A dry place of the umbilical cord will speed up the healing process and encourage the release of the remaining umbilical cord. For how many days the baby’s umbilical cord is loose depends on the condition and how to care for it.
If your baby is already using diapers, try not to cover the rest of the umbilical cord. That way, the area can be exposed to the air more maximally so that the healing process and the release of the umbilical cord become faster.
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3. Bathe the baby by wiping
Before the baby’s umbilical cord is dry and detached, try to prevent the baby’s body from being exposed to water first. To clean the baby’s body, you can choose to bathe the baby using a cloth. Avoid soaking the baby in the tub until the umbilical cord is completely healed to prevent infection.
To clean the baby’s body, use a small cloth and warm water and then wipe all over his body. Next, do not forget to dry the baby’s body using a towel. Avoid rubbing the baby’s skin using a towel when drying the body not to irritate and injure the rest of the umbilical cord.
4. Choose Loose Baby Clothes
The following way to care for the baby’s umbilical cord is to use loose baby clothes. This is intended not to press the stomach and the rest of the umbilical cord. Also, wear baby clothes carefully to avoid the baby’s umbilical cord coming off but still wet. This will make the umbilical cord healing process take longer if this happens.
5. Avoid plucking the remaining baby’s umbilical cord
The baby’s umbilical cord that is dry and fully healed will fall off on its own. Therefore, never try to remove the baby’s umbilical cord by pulling it out. If you pull it out, it can lead to unwanted bleeding.
A baby’s umbilical cord that has healed and is dry will usually fall off on its own. To treat a baby’s umbilical cord that has fallen off like this, you only need to clean it when bathing the baby to avoid the accumulation of dirt in the navel area.
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Signs of Infection in the Rest of the Baby’s Umbilical Cord
Infection of the remaining umbilical cord may occur. It can happen if there is a wrong way in the treatment process. If the right action is not taken immediately, it can endanger the baby’s safety.
To avoid the risk of infection in the rest of the baby’s umbilical cord, which is more serious, you need to know the signs of illness below.
- Babies cry when the umbilical cord and the surrounding area are touched
- The skin around the umbilical cord is swollen and red
- The rest of the umbilical cord oozes white or yellowish pus
- The rest of the umbilical cord bleeds
- There is a foul-smelling feces
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Remedies for Undried Umbilical Cords
Until now, there is no specific medicine to make the baby’s umbilical cord dry faster. The only way to care for your baby’s umbilical cord is to clean it diligently and make sure it’s always dry. This way, your baby can avoid infection, and the baby’s umbilical cord will fall off on its own.
However, if the baby’s umbilical cord has an infection or omphalitis, further examination is needed. If an infection occurs, the baby usually needs to be hospitalized and given intravenous antibiotics to fight the bacterial infection. Parents need to know that infection in the baby’s umbilical cord can threaten the safety of the little one’s life. Therefore, proper treatment is needed so that the infection does not get worse.
That’s how to care for a baby’s umbilical cord that you need to know. By knowing the importance of taking proper care of the umbilical cord, the baby will be comfortable, and the healing process will be faster. In addition, if not cared for properly, the umbilical cord has the potential to cause infections that can threaten the safety of your little one’s life. So make sure every parent understands this.