In this post I’ll discuss briefly umbilical cord care in your newborn. This is relatively simple but can frighten a lot of new parents.
At birth, the umbilical cord is clipped on both sides (mom and baby), and then cut between the two clamps. A new clamp is added close to the newborn’s body, leaving as little remaining cord as possible. For the first 24-48 hours, the cord remains soft and vascularized. The clamp will remain in place for this period of time.
Pictured below is a normal clamp and cord during the first day of life.
Once the cord is dry, your nurse will remove the clamp, leaving a dried piece of the umbilical cord behind. Pictured below is a normal dry/healing umbilical cord stump.
Your nurse will give you instructions when you and your baby are discharged home, however here are a few key points:
- While the dried umbilical cord piece remains attached, babies must have sponge baths only. There is a risk of infection when the cord is submerged into water.
- The piece of cord left will fall off within the first week of life (this can vary for every child, contact your pediatrician if you have any concerns)
- Once the piece of cord falls off, the baby may then be given tub baths.
- Dry is completely normal, however call your pediatrician if the cord has any of the following changes:
- Returns to soft or pliable feeling
- Begins to bleed
- Begins to leak any fluid or pus
- Feels warm or hot to the touch
- Does not fall off after 1 week
Umbilical cord care is relatively simple comparatively to everything going on with a newborn, however it does tend to confuse a lot of parents. If you ever have any concerns, ask your nurse before you go home or call your pediatrician once you go home.
As always, email me if you have any further questions!