Remember, you do not need to put any creams on the umbilical stump or cover it with a bandage. The best thing you can do is to let it heal on its own. It is also not advisable to use alcoholic wipes on the stump as this can cause irritation to the surrounding skin and delay the healing process.
Keep it uncovered. The stump doesn't need to be covered with a bandage, unless instructed by a doctor. The Mayo Clinic recommends folding down the top of the baby's diaper to keep the stump dry and exposed to the air.
Although most umbilical hernias close within the first few years of life, some take as long as seven or eight years to close. Strapping bandages around the abdomen or taping a coin over the hernia doesn't do any good and may damage the skin.
Apply Bandages (But Limit Choking Hazards)
However, bandages can be a choking hazard in babies under the age of 1, especially if the cut is on their finger. Alternatives include non-stick covers such as Telfa (which is readily accessible at your local drugstore) and paper tape.
Using newborn diapers that have a special cut out or folding your baby's diaper down will help keep the cord from becoming irritated. If weather permits, dress your baby in just a t-shirt and diaper to allow more time for the cord to dry out.
To keep your cord in good shape, you must store it in a cool, dry place. Rubbing it down with alcohol also sanitizes it and helps with the drying process. Once the cord is dry, you can place it in a keepsake box or even wear it as a piece of jewelry.
The cord can't fall off too early. The average cord falls off between 10 and 14 days. Normal range is 7 to 21 days. Even if it falls off before 7 days, you can follow this advice.
Leaving a wound uncovered helps it stay dry and helps it heal. If the wound isn't in an area that will get dirty or be rubbed by clothing, you don't have to cover it.
You should dress your baby one-to-two layers to sleep—make sure they don't have any strings or ties—and never cover baby's head. Until the baby can roll on their own, a swaddle or sleep sack can be one of those layers.
When supervised by a physician, the hernia belt can be used to minimize symptoms and the need for immediate surgery. These belts are safe and effective; however, surgery is still the best way to avoid an emergency situation.
The pain tends to get worse if you sneeze, cough, lift something heavy or strain. But different types of hernia can cause other symptoms. For example, the most common kind of hernia is inguinal, which happens when your intestine bulges through a weak spot in the muscle that usually holds it all in.
It may get bigger when laughing, coughing, crying or going to the toilet and may shrink when relaxing or lying down. In many cases, the umbilical hernia goes back in and the muscles reseal by the time a child is 4 or 5 years old. Umbilical hernias can also develop in adults.
Signs of an Infected Umbilical Cord Stump
A smelly yellow discharge from the stump area. A reddening of the skin around the stump. Swelling of the navel area. Your baby crying when you touch the stump, indicating it is tender or sore.
If the cord is looped around the neck or another body part, blood flow through the entangled cord may be decreased during contractions. This can cause the baby's heart rate to fall during contractions. Prior to delivery, if blood flow is completely cut off, a stillbirth can occur.
Use comfortably fitting—not tight—onesies, or just dress baby in diapers and T-shirts. Don't clean the stump unless it comes in contact with stool or other potential infectants. In that case, clean it with water and a mild soap, and dry it thoroughly. Leave it alone.
Safe Sleep Guidelines for Your Baby
Anything that could potentially cover their mouth and nose could lead to suffocation for your infant. The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued safe sleep guidelines. This includes a strong recommendation against having blankets in your baby's crib.
If you can keep your room at a stable temperature of 68-70℉ (20-22.2℃), a long sleeve onesie or pajama underneath a swaddle will be suitable for most babies. If the room is warmer, try just a short sleeve onesie or diaper. For colder temperatures, add an extra layer of clothing.
Keep your wound covered with clean gauze or an adhesive bandage during waking hours. You can leave it uncovered while you sleep if it isn't oozing or painful. Don't soak your wound for long periods when bathing.
A handful of studies have found that when wounds are kept moist and covered, blood vessels regenerate faster and the number of cells that cause inflammation drop more rapidly than they do in wounds allowed to air out. It is best to keep a wound moist and covered for at least five days.
Use a sterile bandage or a clean cloth. Use a clean hand if you don't have a bandage or cloth. (Dry gauze can stick to the wound, so try not to use it.) Don't use a Band-Aid.
If the cord stump is pulled off too soon, it could start actively bleeding, meaning every time you wipe away a drop of blood, another drop appears. If the cord stump continues to bleed, call your baby's provider immediately.
Some parents bathe their babies daily as part of a bedtime routine or due to regular baby messes, from extra spit-up to diaper blowouts. But for most families, bathing the baby two to three times a week is plenty after the first couple of weeks of life.
While there's no harm in getting the stump wet, sponge baths might make it easier to keep the stump dry. Let the stump fall off on its own. Resist the temptation to pull off the stump yourself.