Dear Aunty Tina, My friend just had a baby and she had all kinds of oozing issues with her baby’s remaining umbilical cord. How would you advise that she should have looked after it?
I usually put Peroxide and Golden Seal (an herb which was traditionally used by Native Americans to treat skin disorders, among other ailments) straight onto the area as soon as I have clamped the cord. The remaining attached cord is about an inch or two long and will start rotting after 48 hours and eventually fall off within 7-11 days. It can smell quite bad and even ooze before that happens. This is normal and is only a problem if the skin around the base of the cord becomes red – this may be a sign of infection. If this is the case notify your health care provider.
Keeping it clean is important and Cedar oil may help with the smell. Try not to get the cord wet though, so only sponge baths until it has fallen off. If you do get it wet you can zap it with the hair dryer. Also try and let as much air to it as possible and fold back diapers so nothing is rubbing against it. Even when it looks like it has nearly fallen off, never pull it off; let it do its thing. Your baby’s body will naturally shed the dead umbilical cord when it is ready and in its place will be a perfect little bellybutton; the surprise is whether it will be an inny or outy. Be patient. Most people then throw the detached cord away but I have known one healer who froze it, sliced it up really thin and then dried it, believing that the umbilical cord helps with hormonal balancing especially through menopause!