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Umbilical Cord Care: The Simple Dos and Don’ts

Umbilical cord care is a simple part of baby care that parents often over-complicate! Here are the simple dos and don’ts that should make you an expert in this subject.

Do: Do fold the diaper down so that the cord is not covered. This allows fresh air to reach it and prevents urine from getting to it.

Don’t: Don’t get it wet. Keep the cord dry. This means waiting to bathe your baby until the cord falls off (this is usually 7-14 days), the stump will separate more quickly if it is allowed to dry out. Often the baby’s first bath is done in the hospital as a demonstration for parents, but don’t bathe baby fully again until the cord separates. If needs be, a sponge bath is okay if you try to avoid wetting the cord as much as possible.

Do: Look out for redness around the site tracking onto the tummy. It can get a little sticky or stinky as the tissue degrades Do call your paediatrician or GP if you’re concerned. A small dot of blood is normal but anything more than that is a reason to get a second opinion.

Don’t: Don’t pull the cord off! The cord will fall off naturally and must be left to do that itself. Even if the cord is hanging by a thread, pulling it off will risk infection.

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