The newborn belly button is one of the scariest things to see on your baby’s stomach. The way it looks scares us a lot. We already know that the placenta is connected with the baby’s belly button through the umbilical cord to provide food and nourishment to the baby from the mother’s womb. After birth, this umbilical cord is cut with scissors and thrown away as its function is over once the baby comes out into the world. The baby will now meet his hunger and nourishing requirements from his mother’s breast milk or formula milk. So when the doctors cut the umbilical cord, a little part of it is still attached to the baby’s belly button. And a clip is put on that tiny part of the umbilical cord. It is left like that for 7 o 15 days because It falls off on its own. It gets dried up very easily and becomes black within 10 days due to exposure to air and the environment outside.
In some babies, it might fall off within 5 days and for some babies, it may take 15 to 20 days to completely fall off. Till that time you have to take good of it to prevent infections and bacteria from getting into that area. Doctors recommend not to bathe your baby until the cord falls off. Till that time you can either give a sponge bath or just clean your baby’s body with a soft cloth and lukewarm water.
According to me, a newborn baby doesn’t need a bath every day. They won’t have any dirt on the body in the initial days. Their first bath is already given to them at the hospital by the nurses right after birth. I started giving a complete bath to my baby 20 days after her birth. Till that time I was just cleaning her with wipes and giving her a sponge bath thrice a week.
Her belly button also took a lot of time to fall off completely. It took 15 days. Before falling off, a yellow color liquid comes out of her belly button every day. It was sometimes clear, brownish, and dark, and it would stick to my baby clothes and diapers. There will also be a foul smell in that liquid. Sometimes, I also noticed traces of blood coming out from that area. The doctor told me this is all normal and it is a way of healing. If the umbilical cord doesn’t fall off on its own within 2 weeks after your baby’s birth, then your doctor will give you a Betadin powder to sprinkle on the baby’s belly button twice or thrice daily. This helps in faster healing and drying of the belly button. It also prevents bacteria and infections from getting into that area. My doctor also gave me this powder since my baby’s belly button also didn’t fall off within 2 weeks. After applying the powder for 3 days, it fell off automatically. Even after falling, I still continued to sprinkle it as there was a small piece still left on the belly button. So it took 25 days for my baby to completely heal. But when I had my first child, there was no tension at all, his umbilical cord fell off within 7 days after birth. As you all know, every child is different and everybody is different.
When to call the doctor?
- If there is swelling in the belly button area.
- If it has become red and tender to touch.
- If your baby cries, if you touch her belly button.
- If there is blood and a bad smell coming out of the belly button.
- If the stump hasn’t fallen off for more than 2 weeks.
How to take care of your baby’s belly button?
- Clean the area around your baby’s belly button with a soft cloth or a wipe.
- Always keep it dry to heal faster.
- Don’t let water accumulate near the umbilical cord, it can cause infections.
- Don’t let your baby’s diaper touch or come over the belly button area. Nowadays there are some diaper companies that have designed their newborn diapers in such a way that a part of the front area diaper is cut a little bit so that it doesn’t interfere with the stamp or the umbilical cord that has to fall. Mammypoko pants are best according to me. If you are using a normal diaper, then fold it downwards so that it doesn’t touch or come above the belly button area. The same applies if your baby is wearing shorts or pants.
- After giving a bath, dry the belly area properly with a dry and clean cloth.
- Apply betadine powder if the umbilical cord doesn’t fall, or you notice any liquid coming out of the belly button.
- If possible, keep that area open to air sometimes during the day to heal faster and dry off completely.
- You can also use a soft cotton ball to clean the belly button to apply the betadine powder.