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Umbilical Cord Care- 5 Tips You Need To Know!

As one of Wilmington Coastal Doula's very own, Hali Hemingway prepares to meet her sweet baby boy in the next few weeks she's making her list of those few last to-do's.

She's working through those things we don't always have at the forefront of our mind, but will need to know a little about before we bring our baby home.

As if the newborn baby tar poop wasn't remarkable enough, we also have to keep watch over the smooth muscle that is now drying out and will remove itself from our baby's body when the task is complete.

Say what?

Your baby's umbilical cord will go through a process all it's own and we want to tell you what you can expect and share some tips!

1.The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you must keep the umbilical cord stump dry and clean. If the stump begins to look dirty or sticky, you can dab it with a wet washcloth {no soap or alcohol needed} and then pat it dry with a dry washcloth.

2. Diaper your baby delicately. You can fold the baby's diaper away from the stump to help expose it to fresh air and prevent contact with urine. Change his wet and dirty diapers as soon as you can to minimize leakage up towards the stump.

3. As the continued recommendation from the AAP, stick to sponge baths. Give your baby sponge baths instead of submerging them in a tub until the stump falls off. Once the stump falls off, feel free to submerge your baby in their adorable miniature tub and get them all nice and sudsy! Can we just talk about how heavenly a freshly bathed baby smells?!

For tips on giving your newborn a bath, check out our article Top {5 Tips} For Baby's First Bath at Home

5. Dress baby delicately. If the weather is warm you can have her just wear a diaper or a loose onesie like one of these bodysuits from H&M or a kimono style outfit also, perfect for nighttime wear, and let the air circulate and help dry out your baby's stump. Think comfy and soft when dressing a baby with their umbilical cord stump still attached :)

6. Resist removing. Never try to pull the umbilical cord stump off, even if it seems to be hanging on by an itty bitty piece. If you try to pull it off, it could start bleeding which would be no bueno- and might even warrant a call to your pediatrician. The little scab/stump will fall off on its own anywhere from 7-21 days.

When to call your doctor!

  • If the skin around the base of the cord is red, it wouldn't hurt to give them a call and let them decide what action, if any, would be taken next.

  • If your baby cries whenever you touch or bump it that could be a sign of discomfort due to infection, so I'd call then as well.

  • If your baby's cord stump smells foul or is showing a yellow discharge that is another indicator of infection and prompts a call to their baby doc.

As Postpartum & Infant Care Doulas we are not only present to care for you and your family in a way that is unique to you, but also to answer the many questions that come up once you carry your newborn baby through your front door. Having the educational resource for yourself through those early weeks is the perfect extension of support available to ease postpartum transitions.

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