The umbilical cord in the newborn is cut at birth , leaving a stump that remains for a few days to dry until it falls off around the second or third week of life. Although you do not have to do much to make that happen, you do have to take into account some recommendations to heal the navel of the newborn .
It is important not to try to remove or pull it in any case so that the cord comes off sooner. It is a healing process that the navel will do on its own and we must try to keep it clean and dry to avoid complications. Newborn’s First Breath: How Your Baby Starts Breathing.
Should you use alcohol or chlorhexidine to heal the belly button?
Years ago it was recommended to use 70 degree alcohol soaked in gauze and in some cases it was also combined with the use of 4% chlorhexidine as an antiseptic, or this alone. The povidone also came to be used, but was banned by the risk to babies as well as for pregnant and lactating mothers. It should not be used. Parents recover their biological daughter after a clinic mistakenly implanted.
But none of these antiseptics is necessary in our environment and there are even studies that suggest that they could delay the fall of the cord. Most of the studies that compare dry cure with the use of antiseptics for the umbilical cord conclude that with an antiseptic the time of cord fall is longer, and that despite reducing the colonization rate, this is not related to the umbilical cord infection. What is the corrected age of premature infants and why it should be taken.
The Spanish Association of Pediatrics publishes in a consensus document that many products have been used over time to care for the umbilical cord: topical antiseptic solutions (4% chlorhexidine, 70 ° alcohol, silver sulfadiazine, etc. ) and topical antibiotics (bacitracin, mupirocin), the use of these substances is recommended only in those situations in which neonatal care and hygienic measures are deficient. Five carrying coats designed especially for dads, know more.
In developed countries where there is adequate neonatal care and good hygiene, these methods have not been shown to be better than simply cleaning the umbilical cord with soap and water and drying it thoroughly afterward . In fact, the use of antiseptics and local or topical antibiotics can delay the fall of the cord, because it interferes with the normal healing process.
In developed countries, an important clinical benefit of the use of antiseptics has not been demonstrated, therefore dry cure of the umbilical cord is recommended.
How to cure a newborn’s umbilical cord
So what can we do to heal the baby’s umbilical cord? The Spanish Association of Pediatrics (AEPEP) recommends the following measures:
- Wash your hands before your care.
- Clean the cord area with warm water and mild soap.
- Afterwards, dry it well.
- You can help keep the cord dry with a clean, dry wrap around it, changing the gauze with diaper changes.
- Change baby’s diapers frequently.
What red flags to watch for
When the cord falls we can see small traces of dried blood in the folds, since it has to finish healing, maintaining the same measures that we have taken before the fall. How to Change Your Baby’s Diaper: A Quick Guide for New Parents.
What we must watch out for is any alarm sign in the cord that may indicate an abnormality with greater consequences, such as: active bleeding that soaks through the gauze, foul-smelling yellowish discharge (which can be a symptom of omphalitis or umbilical infection , redness or inflammation or if after 15 days the cord has not yet fallen off.