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Umbilical cord care in newborns
Alternative namesCord care
When the umbilical cord is cut, it leaves a stump, which then dries, heals, and within 1 to 3 weeks falls off. During the time the cord is healing it should be kept as
as possible. In order to keep the cord dry, sponge bathe your baby rather than submersing him in a tub of water. If the cord should become wet or soggy it can be gently dried with a hair dryer set on warm. Utmost care must be taken not to burn the baby's skin with air that is too hot.
It is also advisable to keep the diaper turned down off of the cord. Do not leave the area wet with alcohol as it can be irritating. Blot the alcohol with an clean absorbent pad or gauze then fan the area slightly with your hand to dry it thoroughly.
Another infrequent problem is active bleeding. This usually occurs when the cord is pulled off prematurely. Allow the cord to fall off naturally, even if it is only hanging on by a thread. Active bleeding is defined as every time you wipe away a drop of blood, another drop appears. If the cord does actively bleed, call your baby's doctor immediately.
Your baby's umbilical cord stump should dry up and fall off by 8 weeks of age. If your baby's stump remains beyond that time, it may suggest an anatomical abnormality or immunological problem. See the primary care practitioner if the cord has not dried up and fallen off by the time the baby is 2 months old.
Update Date: 1/20/2004John Goldenring, M.D., M.P.H., Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital, San Diego, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT