No matter how your baby is born, there is a umbilical cord. This is the cord that runs between the placenta and your baby. With newborns,the first step in umbilical care is the cutting of the cord. The umbilical cord will be cut some time after birth. The cord will be cut by you,the father of your baby or someone else close to you. If you have a caesarean section or choose not to cut the cord this will be done by your doctor or midwife. You may also be interested in delayed cord clamping as it is healthier for your baby. I will write about this soon.If this is something you are interested in, you will have to outline this in your birth plan.
The umbilical cord will be clamped before it is cut to seal open blood vessels in the cord.This is ussualy a plastic umbilical cord clamp. Though it can also be a metal clamp or even cord tape. This largely depends on your medical practitioner.
After the umbilical cord is clamped and cut, it may also be treated. The treatment is in form of a dye. This dye is used to protect the cord against infection,though it is not a mandatory procedure. It depends largely on where you are,when you give birth and who is caring for you.
Preparing to Clean the Umbilical Cord.
The cord should be cleaned using hydrogen peroxide or alcohol. The choice depends on your pratictioner or what you have handy. Some doctors say start with alcohol and only use hydrogen peroxide if you need something more drying. Vaseline can be used for drying as well.
The first step in actual umbilical care is to gather your supplies. You will need cotton swabs or cotton balls and a solution like hydrogen peroxide or alcohol. It’s also handy to have the baby with you. Most parents choose to do this during diaper changes.
Undress your baby exposing the cord area. Remember that these solutions can stain your baby’s clothes. You will deep the cotton swab or cotton ball in the solution to wet it thoroughly.
Cleaning the Cord Using a Cotton Swab.
A cotton swab is the easiest way to clean the umbilical cord. This is because the cotton swab can reach further into the belly button than a cotton ball can. When cleaning, hold the cotton swab in one hand and press down on the sides of the cord or excess skin. This allows acesss to the inside where it will stay “wet” longer.
You should call your baby’s doctor or pediatrician if there is a foul odour coming from the area around the umbilical cord,if there is redness or if your baby is running a fever.
Cleaning Cord Using Cotton Balls.
A cotton ball is a nice way to clean the cord too.The benefits of using a cotton ball is that it holds more of your solution. If you are unsure on which one to use you can always use both. You can switch at every cleaning or use both at the same time. The cotton ball is handy if you are leery of cleaning deeply because you can drip a lot of the cleaning solution in the area of the umbilical cord.
End Result Of Cleaning.
The dirt you get after cleaning the cord can be worrisome. Don’t panick.Discolouration is normal.
Even when the cord is healing well,it will still be weepy and will marks on the clothing of your new baby. This photo is of a baby’s clothing who is one week old. Notice that there is residue on her clothing. The good news is normal washing will remove this residue.
The cord stump is what will be left once the cord has fallen. It looks like a larger scab. You can simply throw it away. Though some parents opt to keep it. Totally your choice. The above picture is what you can expect to find.