Care for Your Baby's Umbilical Cord

There has been rising concern for the care of umbilical cords in newborns. Many parents have informed me they have been told by the hospital staff that cleaning around the umbilical cord is not only unnecessary but should be avoided. What ever happened to “Prevention is better than cure”.

On several occasions I have had to instruct parents to clean around their baby’s umbilical cord because it was inflamed or very smelly due to the lack of care.

Prevention can be taken by keeping an eye on the state of your baby’s cord and cleaning it during the bath. Do this by gently rubbing your thumb around the exterior. This gently removes any dry, sloughy dead skin. Once out of the bath carefully dry where the cord and skin meet with a clean dry cotton bud. If you baby’s cord is a bit smelly, clean it at every nappy change with a cotton bud dipped in cooled boiled water or saline solution. Use the dry end of the cotton bud to gently dry it. If it is looking slightly pink or the skin around cord is inflamed your baby may have an infection. Apply liquid Betadine and have it checked by your doctor.

Tips: Check and clean your baby’s umbilical cord daily.

Remember: Any sign of redness or smelly odour coming from the umbilical cord should be attended to.

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