The arrival of a new born baby can be the cause of both joy and anxiety to the family, especially if it is the family’s first child. Usually, the mother receives all kinds of help, both solicited and unsolicited. She may be given counsel on how to feed the baby, how to attend to the baby’s hygiene, dressing and even discipline. For a new mother, this can be overwhelming especially because many of those advisers will contradict one another. With experience, the mother will soon realize that not all that help is helpful.
Babies are vulnerable humans that require delicate care. Remember, they’re new in our environment. They haven’t lived here before. They’re still trying to figure out a lot of things, including of course, why on earth humans have to eat food at all. They need help with this process, but some of that help can rather get into the way of their wellbeing. One of the areas where a mother must be careful in handling their baby is in how they care for the baby’s umbilical stump.
You know that part of the body commonly called belly buttonin adults, don’t you? That’s what I’m calling umbilical stump in babies because in them, a short part of the umbilical cord is still left there to fall off with time, forming the belly button proper. Below are 5 things you must never do to your baby’s umbilical stump.
Never Cut It Out Yourself
Did you read that? Repeat after me, “I must never cut out my baby’s umbilical stump myself.” Repeat that again. There are some mothers that try to do this kind of thing. You know, in some cultures, people believe the stump must fall off within a certain period. Whenever it fails to fall off within the expected period, they think something is wrong with the baby. If you come from such cultures, repeat after me again, “I must never cut out my baby’s umbilical stump myself.”
If you delivered your baby in a standard healthcare facility, your baby’s umbilicus was secured with a cord clamp or clip. That clamp is to close that entrance to your baby’s belly. The stump will fall off on its own, leaving behind a small wound which also heals by itself. Don’t try to cut it yourself. If you do, you will create a wound in that place, increasing the chances of an infection. Remember, your baby is vulnerable. Leave that stump there. Even if it isn’t falling off as quick as you want, is it your stump?
Never Apply Cow Dung On the Umbilical Stump
Do you see that your baby’s umbilical stump? It is to be treated like the holy of holies. Let no unclean thing ever get near it. You are not even to be touching it with dirty hands. In some cultures, mothers apply cow dung on the umbilical stump! Yes, they do it. They believe it will make the umbilical stump fall off quickly.
I know that the care of a baby’s umbilical stump can cause a fight between the baby’s mother and grandmother. Notwithstanding, you see that umbilical stump, don’t you? Whatever it will take to protect it from unclean things, do it. Cow dung contains loads of bacteria that can cause infection in your baby. Remember that the umbilical cord is a former high way for passage of blood and nutrients from the baby’s mother to the baby. Your baby’s doctors don’t want bacteria to be passing there, that’s why they closed it. Don’t go and bring bacteria with your hand and put there.
If your baby is having fever, crying abnormally or sick in any other way, doctors are going to ask you how you’ve been caring for the umbilical stump. They know that application of unauthorized substances can introduce infection to your baby. Look yourself in your mirror trying to say, “I apply cow dung on my baby’s umbilical stump.” If you don’t like what you’re seeing. Don’t ever apply it, because the doctors will make you say it if you do.
Never Allow Your Baby’s Poo to Touch the Umbilical Stump
All poo is poo. Did you read that? Yea, that’s the point. Your baby’s faeces also contain loads of bacteria that should never dream of getting to your baby’s holy of holies. This means you must be highly conscious of the rules of hygiene whenever you’re handling your baby. In fact, the same rules that apply to feeding your baby should apply to handling the umbilical stump.
The golden rule is washing of hands. Whenever you’re cleaning your baby’s poo or urine, make sure none of the items you’re using touches the umbilical stump. And after cleaning, wash your hands thoroughly before you touch the umbilical stump if you have any reason to.
Never Apply Kerosene or Toothpaste to Your Baby’s Umbilical Stump
The golden rule is to not apply anything to your baby’s umbilical stump that your doctors haven’t asked you to. Usually after you deliver your baby, the doctors or nurses will give you tips on how to care for the umbilical stump. Follow their tips faithfully. No kerosene or toothpaste shall come into the holy dwelling of your baby’s umbilical stump.
Remember that your job is not to help the umbilical stump fall off. Your job is to prevent it from being exposed to harmful substances or unclean materials that may introduce infection to the stump. Don’t be like those people who think they need to apply somethingstrong on the umbilical stump. Leave the stump alone.
Never Apply Saliva to the Umbilical Stump
You are aware some people apply saliva to their pimples, aren’t you? They claim that the saliva prevents the pimples from getting bigger or multiplying on their faces. Whatever! Never apply saliva to your baby’s umbilical stump. It is not a pimple. Not your saliva. Not your baby’s saliva either. Never apply it.
In most healthcare settings, the practice is to apply methylated spirit, chlorhexidine gel or gentian violet (GV) to the umbilical stump until it falls off by itself and the wound gets healed. Make sure you ask your doctors what to apply on your baby’s stump. Never listen to your grandparents if they claim they used any of the above substances on their children’s umbilical stump. The bacteria in this generation are like the devil. They know that their time is short. If you give them a chance on your baby’s umbilical stump even for just a day, they will try to take your baby’s lifetime.