Umbilical Cord Care for Newborns | 5 Easy Steps

newborn umbilical cord care | Jax, FL Baby Nurse

Umbilical Cord Care for Newborns | 5 Easy Steps

Writing an informative piece on umbilical cord care is right up my alley! When I’m not helping parents with all the things after their babies are born I’m teaching classes that include information on optimal umbilical cord clamping and providing placenta encapsulation services. During that time I often get to talk with parents about the anatomy of the placenta and cord and the functions of the umbilical cord during pregnancy. After birth, the umbilical cord is no longer needed as the placenta will no longer supply nutrients and oxygen-rich blood to the newborn. The umbilical cord is clamped and cut leaving behind a small nub of cord still attached to your baby’s abdomen.

Clamped and cut, now what?

Your baby’s umbilical cord should begin to dry out, turn into a stump, and eventually, it falls off. What kind of time frame are we talking about here? Usually, within one to two weeks after your baby is born the stump that once was the cord falls off. Until then, follow the 5 simple steps below unless otherwise directed by your pediatrician.

Umbilical Cord Care in 5 Easy Steps:

1. Only give a sponge baths IF a bath is needed.

Generally speaking, newborns don’t need to bathe. A simple wipe down with warm, clean water and a cloth is sufficient. Pay close attention to areas that are moist and tucked away like the creases of their necks and their legs near their diaper area. Avoid their umbilical cord area. The idea is to keep it dry and sponge bathing your newborn will help with that!

2. Keep the stump dry.

You may hear all sorts recommendations such as putting breastmilk on it or applying Goldenseal and Echinacea powder to the area. Please consult your care provider before putting anything on the umbilical cord as it heals. Dry care is currently said to be the best care! There is research that suggests by putting anything on the cord you may be killing beneficial bacteria that is present naturally to help the cord heal on its own. What if my baby pees or soils the umbilical cord area? Don’t stress it! Just wipe it clean using a cloth and warm water (no soap), and let it dry out!

3. Let the umbilical cord air out!

Keep the umbilical area exposed to the air in a controlled temperature environment as much as possible. Fold down the newborn’s diaper, don’t allow it to touch or rub on the cord! Won’t my baby get cold with his umbilical cord area exposed? As long as you have him dressed for his environment he should be fine. For example, if your home is kept around 76 degrees Fahrenheit and you’re wearing shorts and a tank, your baby will be fine in a shirt, diaper, socks, and loose blanket over her lower half. Better yet, snuggle up!

4. Leave it alone!

Let the stump fall off on its own. No pulling or picking at it! If there’s some dried blood around the cord itself (that’s normal) on the skin, you can leave it or wipe it off with a cloth and warm water (no soap), being careful not to get the cord wet. Can I do something so my baby will have an “innie/outtie”? Nope! There’s nothing you can do to encourage or ensure your baby will have an “innie” or an “outtie” a belly button is a belly button! If it’s meant to be it’ll be!

5. Report any problems or concerns to your pediatrician.

Similarly to a scab, the stump might bleed a little when it’s falling off, that’s normal. However, you’ll want to contact your baby’s doctor if: The umbilical cord area oozes or has visible puss. The skin surrounding the cord gets red and swollen. If there’s an odor or smell coming from the area. If your baby’s umbilical cord hasn’t fallen off by the end of week two, even without signs of infection.

Together we can keep dem’ babies safe!

There isn’t a general consensus for umbilical cord care everywhere. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that, “dry cord care without the application of topical substances is preferable under most circumstances in high-resource countries and for in-hospital births elsewhere; the application of topical chlorhexidine is recommended for infants born outside the hospital setting in communities with high neonatal mortality rates.20 ” Basically, they’re saying that that dry care is usually the best care in low-risk environments. In settings where the risk of bacterial infection is high, it may be prudent to use an antiseptic as per your pediatrician or general practitioner’s recommendations.

Here’s the recap:

  1. keep it dry
  2. sponge bathe only as needed
  3. let it air out
  4. leave it alone
  5. report possible problems or infections to your pediatrician right away!

That’s it, folks!

Sounds simple enough, right? For the most part, it is! Follow these recommendations, that of your pediatrician, and most importantly listen to your gut! Not familiar with that? Our postpartum and infant care specialists are amazing at helping you tap into that parental power! Book a consult with us today and grow more confident in parenting each day!

Happy Birth & Parenting,

~Elizabeth Luke

Surviving Nights with a Newborn; Tips for Tired Parents

Surviving Nights with a Newborn Jax, FL | Jax, FL Newborn Sleep

Surviving Nights with a Newborn; Tips for Tired Parents

Surviving nights with a newborn can be difficult, but not impossible. It’s the wee hours of the morning. You’ve just about drifted off to sleep when your baby again. Every muscle in your body is exhausted, you feel weak and you think to yourself, how are other people surviving nights with a newborn? Will we ever get through this?

If you’ve ever had a newborn you know what I’m talking about. If you’re expecting a baby, you’ll soon find out. Lack of sleep can and often does get the best of people. Fear not! We have some tips for surving nights with a newborn!

It’s important if you’re breastfeeding to know that nighttime feedings are essential!

Your body naturally produces more of the hormone prolactin at night. During the first two weeks, your body is trying to figure out what it needs to do to meet your baby’s needs. How will it do this? By responding to what you’re doing. In the first six weeks breastfeeding or pumping at least (I can’t stress this enough) 10-12 times, getting one 4-5 hour stretch of sleep, and as many naps as possible in every 24-hour period is crucial to you and your baby’s well-being. If you’re bottle-feeding the logistics is a bit different, but it’s still challenging!

Surviving Nights with a Newborn; Tips for Tired Parents

1. Nap, Nap, and Nap

Make sure you’re getting as many naps in as possible. Doing so will help with the longer nights. Three to five-hour long naps and one 4-5 hour stretch of sleep in a 24-hour period will be one key to surviving nights with a newborn. Most parents can sustain themselves on that.

2.  Create a Nest

Think, everything you need in one place! Make your nest cozy, conducive to sleep, and user-friendly. If you can do this successfully you’re already ahead of the game!

Things to Consider When Fashioning Your Nest:

  • Make your baby’s sleep space as close to yours as possible.
  • Create a portable changing station to keep next to your bed. That way you can change your baby’s diapers while in bed or in the bassinet or crib right next to the bed. A small cleaning caddy works great for this purpose.
  • Are you pumping? If so have enough supplies in your nest to last you all night. No walking back and forth to the kitchen.  Put a small cooler in the room close to your bed with ice packs to keep your pumped milk in. You don’t have to wash pump parts or use a new set every time through the night. Put your pump parts in a gallon ziplock and place them in the cooler in between pump sessions. Genius right?!
  • Are you formula feeding? Simplify! Create as many bottles are you need for night duty and have them at the ready. Depending on what type of formula you are using this will look a little different. Keep a bottle warmer on a table close by, but at a safe distance from the baby of course!

3. Keep the Lights Low and the Room Slightly Cooler

Seems like a no-brainer right?! Not really, it easy to get into the habit of flipping the lights on to get “it” done real quick, but it really does interrupt the sleep cycle significantly. A low night light with a small flashlight is often a better choice! You want to keep your room slightly cooler than you would in the daytime. Dress your baby slightly warmer than you’ll dress yourself or in a single layer if you’re using a swaddle.

4. Learn to Nurse in the Side-Lying Position

I am a true believer that every mom on the planet who is breastfeeding a baby for any period of time should learn how to feed her baby in the side-lying position. For survival, for comfort, for bonding, and for healing! Most breastfed babies want to nurse more through the night. There are a number of reasons for this, one being the additional prolactin the body produces at night.

Learn this skill, practice this skill, and utilize it for maximum rest! If you’re not comfortable nursing in the side-lying position for fear of co-sleeping you can set a short timer, ask your partner, family member, or postpartum and infant specialist to sit quietly and keep a close eye on your baby as you drift in and out of sleep.

5. Ditch the Clock

It’s so easy to focus on how long the hours are when you’re staring the clock in the face. Like the watched pot that never boils time stands still while your awake. If you have a clock in the bedroom turn it around or cover it.

Instead focus on learning your baby through each feed, soothing techniques, low lights, and maximizing your rest even if you’re not getting solid periods of sleeping.

6. Hire a Postpartum & Infant Support Specialist

The Jacksonville Baby Company provides support for parents at one of the most critical times in a new families life, after the birth of their baby. If there were ever a time in someone’s life that they could use all the help it’s the postpartum time period, also known as the fourth trimester. Laundry, dishes, and chores can wait, but babies don’t keep! Let us help you with all the things so you can focus on what doesn’t keep; your baby!

There you have it! These are some of our tips for surviving nights with a newborn. I hope you found these helpful!

Happy Birth and Parenting!

~Elizabeth

From the Hospital Home after Giving Birth

from the hospital home after giving birth jax fl

From the Hospital Home after Giving Birth

As you transition from the hospital home after giving birth the ride will seem almost surreal. You’ll probably be tired, maybe even a little anxious. Your comfort level will fall anywhere on the scale from 1-10. 1 being slightly uncomfortable and 10 being “holy crap I feel like I was hit by a truck”. I’m sorry, but you can sugarcoat and cricket and it’s still a cricket. We’ve put together a little blog to help your transition be a little less stressful.

First on our list is a pillow!

This one goes out to all you rock star cesarean moms! After being stuck with needles and having your abdomen “massaged”, there’s absolutely nothing that sounds appealing about touching your incision. Holding a pillow against your abdomen while you navigate a seemingly treacherous stretch of roadway will help make the ride less painful. It also helps to do the same when coughing or sneezing. Lord has mercy with those sneezes!

Learn, install, and know your car seat before the big day.

Trying to wrangle a car seat around in your car and having no idea how it works is a rookie mistake! We love rookie and experienced parents alike, we’re only picking on the rookies in good fun! To make the transition easier from the hospital home after giving birth, read your car seat’s manual with your partner. Learn to install it together. Be sure to practice it! You want your baby to be as safe and comfortable as possible, especially in the car! Check out the Car Seats for the Littles, it’s an excellent resource for you!

Make sure baby has fed well before leaving.

Sometimes discharging from a hospital can be a challenge in itself. It can be a hurry up and wait game of sorts. Then a few hours after you’ve all but given up on departing your nurse appears. Discharge papers are finally signed and you can go home now! Take a few minutes to make sure baby is fed well and do a quick diaper change.

Have your Postpartum & Infant Doula at the ready.

And by at the ready I mean book her for the transition! First Coast Doulas are here to help you transition from the hospital home after giving birth and beyond! We’ll meet you at the hospital, provide support and assistance and focus solely on you and your baby! We can show you some ways to safely soothe your newborn on the ride home. When you arrive home your Doula can get you all settled in. Talk about relief!

Grab those Tucks medicated pads!

The hospital has them, you love them! Perhaps you have a love/hate relationship with those things, but I think most of us can agree; they make life a little easier! Just ask for an extra pack to take home when packing your bag to come back home!

Peri Bottle!

It’s like a bidet in a bottle, only better!  That peri bottle can mean the difference between feeling like you’re peeing shards of glass and relaxing just enough to pee with some sense of normalcy!

Mesh Panties & Ice Pack Pads

After this glorious event we call birth you’ll have earned your trophy panties! Your very own pair of sexy mesh mama panties you have heard others talk about!! Welcome to the mom club! Ask for an additional pair to two before you leave for home, they just work!

Take the back seat!

That first trip can be…a trip! Make it as stress-free as possible and maybe snap chat your bestie who is waiting to be flooded with all the baby mush!

Delegating chores early on!

Creating a postpartum chore list will allow you to focus on resting, healing, and bonding with you newborn. For 2-6 weeks let others focus on taking care of you! First Coast Doulas supports new families and helps keep the flow of the house moving. This allows families the freedom to be in the moment and to get enough rest to sustain and thrive!

We love sharing inside tips with new and expecting parents! Don’t miss a beat! Join the Jacksonville Pregnancy and Parenting group on Facebook for support. Get answers to your questions and of course a little fun too! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for laughs and commiseration. Oh, and Pinterest for all the great ideas we’ll probably never get to do!

Happy birth and parenting!