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How to care for an umbilical stump? Which method is the best?

How to care for an umbilical stump? Which method is the best?


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The umbilical stump is the part of the umbilical cord that remains after cutting during delivery just after the birth of the child. During this time, a special plastic clamp is placed on the umbilical cord. Initially, the stump is white and blue, while the swelling decreases during the day and its color changes to black-brown.

The umbilical stump usually falls off between 5 and 15 days after birth (read how long the umbilical stump can last) for it to happen you have to take care of him properly. How to do it best? Which belly care should I choose after delivery?

Watch out for umbilical stump infections!

The umbilical stump is very susceptible to infections and infections. That's why you have to care for him as a wound, properly disinfect and try to keep it clean. Usually, it is enough to clean the belly button several times a day and after the evening bath (unless you need to clean it more often - with every change of diaper) and ventilate frequently.

Care methods for the umbilical stump

Dry cleaning: the navel area must be washed with lukewarm soapy water, then dried and allowed to air dry. With each change of diaper, wipe the stump area with a cotton swab soaked in warm, boiled water and dry. Ventilate the navel frequently, avoid contact with the diaper.

Spirit washing: our grandmothers and mothers used spirit to clean, disinfect and dry the navel area. A clean swab is soaked in a 70% spirit solution and cleans the area around the umbilical stump. You can buy a ready-made product at the pharmacy (e.g. alcohol swabs) or make a solution yourself by mixing water with spirit (2 tablespoons of spirit, 1 tablespoon of water). Today, this method is less popular, although still recommended and used.

Octenisept washing: Until recently, Octenisept was recommended for stump care. The preparation has the form of a spray, just lightly spray around the stump and wipe with a sterile gauze several times a day. If necessary, you can slightly raise the stump and clean the area under it with cotton buds.

Which umbilical stump care method is the best?

Guidelines from 2010 by the National Supervision in the Field of Neonatology say about cleaning the stump with soapy waterfollowed by thorough drying. Only in the event of disturbing changes can you use the disinfectant Octeniseptu. This method was considered to be most effective during research.

The test results confirm the stump fall off for the dry method: after 13 days, the Octanisept method for 17 days, the spirit method for 24 days.

In addition, it is believed that the use of disinfectants around the navel too often dries and irritates the baby's skin.

The 2010 guidelines, despite the recommendations, they are still not fully respected by medical staff and parents. Care for the umbilical stump remains a matter of choice. Which method we choose depends only on us, the parents, because we decide what happens to our child. And regardless of our beliefs, we choose the best interests of the child and are guided by parental intuition.

This is better avoided when caring for the stump

  • washing the stump with pure alcohol (95%), iodine, gentian violet,
  • use of topical antibiotics
  • applying a tight bandage, patch on the navel,
  • long soaking in water,
  • rubbing the stump with a sponge,
  • laying the baby on his stomach before the umbilical stump falls off,
  • picking up the stump by itself,
  • lubrication of the stump area with ointment, cream,

Wetting the stump while bathing

While bathing the newborn, we try to avoid soaking the umbilical stump. If it gets wet, you don't have to be afraid of the effects, just dry the stump thoroughly with a gauze pad and let it dry completely.

The umbilical stump is very sensitive, so if there is redness, swelling, bloody, purulent discharge around the navel, bad smell, baby fever, you should consult a doctor as soon as possible who will rule out infection or order appropriate treatment.



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