The navel of the newborn causes worries to some parents, particularly if they do not have enough knowledge about these elements. There is no need to bother, as a few basic cares are enough for that debris from the umbilical cord to withdraw and recover without obstacles.
When the baby is in the womb, it feeds into the umbilical cord. Once it is born it is cut off, since it no longer affects any function. The navel of the newborn is that rest that lingers and that little by little shrivels up until it eventually comes off.
Navel care for the newborn is primarily directed at evading infection. It is sufficient to have conventional hygiene and take some easy prudent measures so that this does not occur. With correct measurements, in just 2 or 3 weeks that rest will come off easily.
Read Also: How breasts change during pregnancy
The navel of the newborn
At childbirth, the midwife or doctor cuts the umbilical cord, around 4 centimeters from the baby’s belly. This is done with the aid of homeostatic forceps, whose purpose is to hold the hemorrhage. The rest of the cord is held in place with specific plastic clips.
From that moment, the navel of the newborn starts a process of self-destruction. Over the days, the stump dries up, wrinkles, and becomes brown, until it ultimately comes off. Everything occurs in a period of within 8 and 10 days. In infants born by cesarean section, it may require a few more days.
After the fall, a scar remains that takes between 3 and 5 more extra days to recover. Throughout this period, proper care must be practiced so that no infection or other complications happen. From then on, there will be no other matters about it.
Newborn navel care ends when the area has cured accurately. In this regard, there are legends, beliefs, and half-truths. Before it was thought that the best thing was to heal the navel with alcohol of 70 degrees, either alone or in mixture with an antiseptic, such as chlorhexidine.
Various studies have shown that this can prevent the sagging of the navel, so it is only advisable in case the baby lives in an atmosphere with little hygiene. Unless the only rule of thumb is to keep your belly button clean, clear, and dry.
This includes some necessary actions such as the following:
- It is beneficial that you wash your hands properly before bathing or changing the baby clothes.
- You should not rip off the navel; it will fall off naturally when it’s time.
- You can bathe the baby without any obstacle; you just have to make certain to dry the navel well after bathing.
- If the navel area becomes dirty with urine or wastes, you should clean it with a towel and lukewarm water.
- The navel area must be kept open, eluding that the diaper or clothes cover it.
Heal the navel of the newborn
It is prudent to treat the navel of the newborn until it heals effectively. This is an easy method, which you should do after bathing. Just follow the actions below:
- After the bath, smoothly dry the baby’s whole body.
- Wash your hands very well, with soap and water.
- Wet dry towel with a mixture of lukewarm water and mild soap, or with alcohol if the atmosphere is not hygienic.
- It cleanses very well the whole area throughout the navel and the surface.
- Give a clean towel to dry the area well.
- Do not use a cotton towel, nor, mercurochrome or iodine-based products.
If after 20 days there is no healing, it is conceivable that there is an infection. In these circumstances, the common thing is that the area looks red and hard. Furthermore, there will be a suppuration or bloody and smelly flow. If this occurs you should visit the pediatrician.
When the stump falls off, slight bleeding is common. If this is extensive or does not stop, it is suitable to press the area gently with a towel and discuss your doctor. Sometimes a red pimple develops on the navel scar – umbilical granuloma. It is not something dangerous, but it also deserves a discussion with the pediatrician.
Sometimes a tumor also appears in the navel, which corresponds to a hernia. This is not dangerous and normally disappears after two or three years. Also, there may be a tiny protrusion in the form of an elephant’s trunk, called the proboscis navel. The pediatrician will intimate the steps to follow.