Umbilical cord care: Basics for a New Mom

October 15, 2013 by  
Filed under Baby Tips

Umbilical cord care Basics for New MomA baby’s newly cut umbilical cord can be an entry point for bacteria, which can lead to cord infection and potentially life-threatening sepsis. You can prevent any infection that can arise from an umbilical cord by taking good care in the initial days. A new mom need to be careful and prevent infection to the baby.

At birth babies are born with a high level of Anti-body like proteins called immunoglobulin (IgG), which are important for keeping babies free from bacterial and viral infections. However, these drop over the first two to three months of birth making them prone to infections. It is only at around three months your child will start to developing his own antibodies, but at a much slower rate than adults. Therefore babies are at high risk when exposed to external conditions, therefore lot of importance is given for umbilical cord care and preventing infection.

Why does your baby have an umbilical cord stump?

During pregnancy, the umbilical cord supplies nutrients and oxygen to your developing baby in the womb through the placenta, which is connected to the inner wall of the mother’s uterus. The placenta is connected to your baby by the umbilical cord through an opening in the baby’s abdomen. After your baby is born, the umbilical cord is no longer needed and therefore clamped and cut close to the body in a painless procedure, leaving a 2 to 3 cm short umbilical stump.

Your baby will not feel any discomfort during this procedure as the umbilical cord does not contain pain-sensitive nerve fibers.

How long will your baby have an umbilical cord stump?

Your baby’s umbilical cord stump will dry up and eventually fall off within 10 to 21 days. The color of the umbilical cord will change to black and will then fall off. There will be a fresh wound and it will take a few days to heal.

Umbilical cord care: Basics for a New Mom

How to take care of the Umbilical cord stump?

You need to take good care of the umbilical cord area. This area is delicate and will need a little extra attention until the cord stump naturally falls off . Follow the below steps:

  • Keep the stump clean. Earlier parents were instructed to swab the stump with rubbing alcohol after every diaper change.  Doctors now advise to leave the stump dry without applying any antiseptic lotion, the stump might heal faster if left alone. If the stump becomes dirty or sticky, clean it with plain water — then dry it by holding a clean, absorbent cloth around the stump or fanning it with a piece of paper.
  • Keep the stump dry. Expose the stump to air to help dry out the base of the umbilical cord. Avoid covering the stump with diaper or clothes. Keep the front of your baby’s diaper folded down . In warm weather, dress your baby in a diaper and short top shirt to improve air circulation. Avoid contact with urine especially for the boy babies, place diaper in the right position. Avoid usage of dry cotton wool as the fibers left in the area can cause irritation to your baby’s delicate skin and may lead to infection.
  • Continue with sponge baths. Sponge baths might be most practical during the healing process. When the stump falls off, you can bathe your baby in a baby tub or sink.
  • Let the stump fall off on its own. Do not pull off the umbilical cord stump even if it is hanging on by only a thread. Resist the temptation to pull off the stump yourself.

How to identify if there is an infection?

When the umbilical cord is naturally healing, it’s natural to see a little dried blood near the stump. Contact your baby’s doctor if the child develops fever or if the umbilical cord area:

  • Appears red and swollen at the base of the cord
  • A foul odor coming from the cord
  • Yellowish pus or discharge coming from the cord
  • Continuous bleeding observed (although slight bleeding often occurs at the time of separation).

If you sense an infection or any of the above symptoms, prompt treatment should be administered to stop the infection and get your little baby back to normalcy.

New Moms Newborn Basic Baby Care Tips

January 7, 2013 by  
Filed under Baby Tips

Congratulations !!

You are a mother of a new born baby. This is a time to enjoy the experience of motherhood along with your family. A new mom can have a lot of queries and clarifications in the day to day proceedings. Bringing up kids is a major challenge, a huge responsibility . A mother needs to be vigilant and always keep an eye on the baby.

Grandparents and parents guide the new born mother to conduct all basic activities for the child. The key activities to be done in a day are:

Breast feeding

Breast milk is the best feed for your baby. It is proved to be the best as there is a special bond between mother and child. The more your baby nurses the more milk you will have. Ideally the mother also will come back to shape after her delivery with breastfeeding.

For some mothers the milk will not be sufficient to feed the baby , in such cases you can opt for the best quality milk formula. The only watch out is following hygienic practices and be disciplined in the approach. You need to sterilize the bottle and nipple in between feeds. Clean the child’s mouth with a moist cloth or towel . Do not leave the bottle in the child’s mouth as it can result in tooth decay.

Use a bib or towel while feeding the child. This will avoid unpleasant smell for the baby and the baby will not be irritated due to dryness and sticky feeling. Burp the baby after and between feeds. Religiously give water 1 or 2 oz ( boiled and cooled) or distilled water 2 or 3 times in a day.

Tips for new mom new born babyOil massage

Indian women believe in giving the baby oil massage daily in the early hours of the day. Coconut oil or oil of reputed brands can be applied on the baby’s entire body and head. Steps to be followed:

  • The baby is made to lie on its back on the legs or in case not comfortable on a rubber sheet.
  • Oil is taken in both palms and applied on the head in a circular motion to ensure the head is round and not flattened. This will help mold your head with a good shape.
  • You need to apply oil externally and pull the nose upwards gently to make it a bit pointed and long. Usually baby’s are born with a flat nose.
  • You need to apply oil on the chest and stomach and ensure it spreads all over the body. The next step is to squeeze out the nipple of the baby. Some white fluid will come out when pressed.
  • Apply oil on each had and gently fold the hand together on the chest and back two to three times.
  • Next is the legs. Hold your baby’s legs straight and close to each other. Then, with both hands start massaging your child’s thigh down to his knees then to his legs massaging from the outside to the inside. Fold legs at the knee and back. This will strengthen feet and prevent being bow-legged afterwards.
  • Keep monitoring the baby . If you feel that the child is not enjoying then stop for a while and then continue. Keep him engaged with sounds of toys etc.You can keep talking to the child. This develops a bond between you and your child.
  • Make the baby lie down for 15 to 20 minutes.

Baby bathing

  • Make sure you have brought all items required for the baby prior to bathing.
  • Bathe the baby in hot water that is above luke warm temperature. Apply baby soap daily and baby shampoo twice in a week.
  • Be extremely careful while handling the head as it is still not straight. You need to balance very carefully. Remember the baby’s head is very soft and therefore be cautious while bathing.
  • The baby can be wiped dry and put on baby powder all over the body. Use a powder puff. In India eyetex is applied on the eyebrows for helping growth of thick and shapely eyebrows. We also place an eyetex bindi ( a dot with the tip of your tiny finger)on the cheek and under the feet, this will ward away evil eyes and it is believed that the child will not have any problems in its growth.
  • Wipe your baby’s outer ears with a cotton balls or wash cloth but don’t try to clean the ear canal itself. The ear wax will come out unsurprisingly since the ear is naturally self-cleaning. But if you feel the baby is irritated then ask the doctor about it.
  • Like ears, the nose is also self-cleaning and needs no special care. Just wipe the outside preferably with wet wipes or wash cloth. Don’t use cotton swabs, tissue or even your fingernails.
  • Put on baby clothes and diaper. The mother can feed the baby and put him to sleep. The baby will sleep comfortably for 2 hours minimum.
  • You need to have a round pillow to ensure the head does not get flattened. Keep changing positions of the head after some duration.
  • This schedule of massage and bathing can continue daily for two months. In case baby has slight temperature avoid washing the head.

General routine tips:

  • In the evenings you can sponge the baby with a wet towel properly squeezed.
  • You should clean your baby’s umbilical cord with 70% ethyl alcohol 2 times a day or every diaper change. Never let water pass or enter the umbilical cord.
  • At birth, infant’s nails are typically overgrown. The ideal time to trim them is when the baby is fast asleep. If not done the baby may scratch their own face
  • If the nails are neither long nor short, it is still better to put on mittens on your baby’s little hands just to be safe.
  • As soon as the baby can see things though not yet clear, they begin to focus their eyes on objects. Sometimes, this causes them to appear as crossed eyes where just one eye focus on what he is looking at while the other just seems aimed anywhere. These eye movements mean he is still learning to use his eyes. But still it would be better to just close his eyes and restart his focus on objects.
  •  While sleeping, make sure that your baby’s head position is changed regularly. For example, if his head is on the right side for an hour then try to have his head on the left side after and so on. It would also be better if his pillow is comfortable enough for his head to move around. This is to prevent from having a baby’s head with flat side.
  • Once a day or after feeding if necessary, make sure to clean your baby’s mouth with a clean wet washcloth or an infant brush where you put your finger in it. This could prevent mouth and tongue infection brought about by milk leftovers.
  • When dressing your baby, use clothing with an easy-on and easy-off feature as much as possible. This could be wide neck openings or necks with snap closings. Fairly loose sleeves and a minimum fastening should be necessary. Preferably use material like cotton, spun that is soothing and comfortable. Avoid clothes of glittery and non absorbing texture as the baby is on its back for a long time.
  • These are just basic tips for new moms out there. If there are things that you are in doubt about your baby’s condition that needs immediate attention, don’t hesitate to immediately call your baby’s pediatrician. They  are the true guides and will help you in the development and well-being of your baby.
  • You can create a network of new moms and keep exchanging your learning’s to the others too.