Caring for your Newborns Cord

Many new parents feel scared and overwhelmed when caring for their newborn in the early days so don’t worry, you are not alone!

Just as breastfeeding creates a special bond between you and your little one, tending to their umbilical cord is a nurturing act that fosters a foundation of love and care.

The umbilical cord is one area that causes many anxieties for parents. Is it normal? Should it look like that? I don’t know a single parent who hasn’t Googled it at some point!
After months of delivering oxygen and nutrients to your baby, the umbilical cord is cut after delivery to form the cord stump. It generally dries up and falls off between 5 to 15 days later. If your newborn baby is overdue it often falls off earlier. All hospitals have different guidelines offering different advice so it can be such a confusing time.

Maintaining cleanliness around the umbilical cord is crucial to prevent infection and ensure a smooth healing process.

Here’s my top tips to preventing infection and less stress for you!

Top tips on newborn cord care:

Always wash your hands well with normal soap and water. Clean the area with cool boiled water and a cotton pad. Using a clean cotton pad each time, wipe in one direction to avoid contaminating the area. It can ooze in the early days so clean at each nappy change. I have always found it easier, if you fill a little tub with cool boiled water first thing in the morning and keep sealed at your changing table with a lid so you can use throughout the day. If the cord is clean and dry leave it alone. Don’t fix what isn’t broken as they say!!

Allow the air at it, this helps it to dry up. Turn down the nappy ( towards you, not towards baby) so it is uncovered until the cord comes away. Allow the cord to fall off naturally, don’t help it along.

Sometimes you may smell on odour just before it falls off, but once cleaned the odour disappears. Don’t fear the cord, you can’t hurt your baby. Remember its dead tissue. Once the cord is off leave it heal. You may notice some blood spots on the nappy or vest but this can be normal, It’s like you picked a scab. This then forms your baby’s belly button.

Natural remedies for newborn cord care:

Nature has bestowed us with wonderful remedies to aid the healing process of your newborn’s umbilical cord. These simple practices will help ensure your newborn baby’s comfort:

  1. Topical Oils:
    • Applying natural oils like coconut or olive oil to the base of the cord can soothe and moisturize the area.
  2. Herbal Baths:
    • Infusing your baby’s bathwater with mild herbal remedies like chamomile or calendula can promote healing.
  3. Secure Nappies:
    • Ensure that nappies are snug but not too tight to avoid unnecessary friction on the umbilical cord.

As you care for your newborn baby’s umbilical cord, keep a watchful eye for any signs of infection. If you notice redness, swelling, or discharge, it’s crucial to consult your healthcare provider promptly.

If you are concerned about the cord, notice an ooze or redness spreading around the cord on the abdomen ,contact your PHN or GP to review it.

Everything seems daunting in the beginning but just take each task and feed as it comes and you will get there.

Nursing Mama offers in-person consults within Kildare, Dublin, and online Worldwide.


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