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Taking Your Baby Home
by Robert M. Selig, M.D., FAAP & Joann C. Cozza, D.O., FAAP

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20: How Do I Know If My Baby Is Constipated?

Many babies make funny faces and turn bright red when having a bowel movement. This does not mean your baby is constipated. As long as your baby is comfortable after his/her bowel movement and the stool consistency is soft, there is nothing to be concerned about. If your baby's bowel movements are hard or your baby seems uncomfortable when having a bowel movement, please let us know.

Avoid the use of rectal stimulation with your finger or a glycerin suppository unless recommended by our office.


21: How Do I Care For My Baby's Umbilical Cord?

Rubbing alcohol is the best healing agent. Clean your baby's cord well with alcohol and a cotton ball or Q tip every diaper change. The alcohol should be applied to the top of the drying cord and around the base where it is attached to the stomach.

It is normal to see a small amount of blood around the cord as it begins to dry up and fall off. This is similar to a scab falling off. It is important to continue using alcohol to keep the area clean. The alcohol may feel cold to your baby, but it does not burn or cause your baby any pain.

There may be an odor present right before the cord falls off. This is norml. Applying alcohol more frequently to the cord will speed up the healing process and eliminate any odor. It may take up to 3 weeks for the cord to completely dry up and heal. Once healed, there should be no more oozing or bleeding.

Remember, keep the diaper folded down (with the plastic facing outwards) below your baby's cord. This will increase the air exposure and help speed up the healing. This also prevents the diaper from rubbing and irritating the cord.


22: When Can I Give My Baby A Full Tub Bath?

Once your baby's cord is healed (dried with no bleeding), a full tub bath can be given. The cord and circumcision are usually healed by 2 weeks. Getting the cord wet may just delay the normal drying and healing process.

Until the cord is healed, a sponge bath is adequate for cleaning your baby. Use a mild soap (Dove or Alpha Keri) to help lessen the chances of irritation and drying of your baby's skin. You can use other mild soaps, however, if you find your baby's skin becoming excessively dry or irritated, it may be from the soap.

Dry skin is common. Keri lotion, Eucerin cream, or Nivea can be used to lessen the dryness. Alpha Keri Bath Oil can be mixed in the bath water or applied directly to your baby's wet skin after a bath. Do not wipe it off--let it dry on your baby’s skin.

Your baby's diaper area can be cleaned well with a mild soap and warm water. Disposable baby wipes can be used in the diaper area. Baby wipes may sting if used when your baby has any areas of redness or irritation in the diaper area.


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