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The Umbilical Cord Remnant

The Umbilical Cord Remnant


The umbilical cord has been your baby's lifeline for nine months. Soon after he or she is born, the umbilical cord is cut and only a small remnant remains. This piece of umbilical cord in your baby's belly button will dry up and fall off in about a week or two. Even though the umbilical cord may look strange, don't worry that it's hurting your baby. By keeping the area clean and dry, you can prevent infection or irritation.

If your baby's diaper touches the cord remnant, fold the waistband down to avoid chafing and allow the umbilical cord exposure to air. Don't let the umbilical cord be submerged in bath water, as this can cause infections and delay healing. Use a washcloth around the area until the remnant falls off. You'll also need to clean the area with a cotton ball or Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol. Your pediatrician will recommend how often to clean the cord, but it's usually around three times each day.

When the cord begins to dry and shrivel up, this means it is almost ready to fall off. Don't pick at it or attempt to remove it before it's ready, as this can cause an infection in your baby. Most times, the umbilical cord remnant doesn't cause any problems, but occasionally an infection occurs. If you notice discharge from the area, a strong odor, or redness around the cord, call your pediatrician. Your baby shouldn't cry or be in distress when you touch the cord, and if he or she has discomfort it may be a sign of infection.

Another condition that can develop is called umbilical granuloma. This causes a bump of flesh on the navel and needs to be removed. Your doctor can either apply silver nitrate to the area, or remove it in the doctor's office a minor surgical procedure. If you notice the umbilical cord remnant bulging, it could be a sign of a hernia. This happens when your baby has a small hole in the abdominal wall, and tissue begins to push out of the hole. Most hernias repair themselves, while in a few cases they must be repaired surgically.

In the majority of new babies, the umbilical cord remnant simply dries up and comes off with no problems. It's just necessary to keep an eye on the cord to make sure that infection doesn't occur. Your child's pediatrician can usually treat any conditions quickly with topical or oral antibiotics, so don't worry that an infection in the area will seriously harm your baby. With proper care of the umbilical cord remnant, it will soon fall off and you'll see your baby's cute little belly button!

 


 
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