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The umbilical cord helps transfer nutrients and oxygen from you to your baby in the womb. After the delivery, the umbilical cord is cut and the portion that remains attached to your baby’s navel is called the umbilical stump. Doctors often place a clamp or a clip on the cord, which stays on until the stump dries up and falls off naturally in 1 to 2 weeks’ time.
Here’s how to care for your baby’s umbilical stump.
Keep it Clean
Use a ball of cotton dipped in warm water to gently clean the area around the umbilical stump that will keep it from getting infected.
Keep it Dry
The quicker the umbilical stump dries, the sooner it will fall off. The best way to speed up the process of drying the stump is to keep it exposed to air as much as possible.
When changing your baby’s diaper, make sure that the diaper doesn’t cover or obstruct the umbilical stump. You can ensure this by folding the front of the diaper.
Dress Your Baby Right
Form-fitting clothes can rub against the umbilical stump. Dressing your little one in loose clothing will prevent unnecessary discomfort in that area.
Watch for Infection
Keep an eye out for signs of infection. Does your baby cry when you touch the area? Is there redness, a foul odor, or any discharge or bleeding around the stump? If so, consult your pediatrician at the earliest.
If you see the stump hanging and just about to fall off, do not attempt to pull it out. Let it fall off naturally.
Even after stump falls off, watch the area for at least 10 days to make sure there are no signs of infection.
While in most cases, the umbilical stump falls off within 1 to 2 weeks, it can sometimes take longer. If it has been over 3 weeks since your delivery and the stump hasn’t separated yet, you might want to consult your pediatrician.