Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Caring For Your Baby’s Life Line

In sharing this post about caring for the umbilical cord, this One Sassy Doctor has to reflect on those first few days of C-Section/learn to nurse mayhem (times two) and share a personal story. My baby girl’s umbilical stump got caught on my nursing bra and ripped off. It was a mess! I was maneuvering her with my itchy, hot and uncomfortable double milk truck holders (Literally, isn’t that what they feel like at the beginning? No offense meant!), and she started to cry. Didn’t take long to realize the poor little pookie’s stump was gone! Rest assured, she’s eight now and has the cutest belly button in the world (which I still give an extra kiss to when we snuggle).

What is the Umbilical Cord? 
The umbilical cord is comprised of blood vessels and tissue that connect the growing baby to the mom’s placenta in order to supply nutrition and oxygen during development. Specifically, it is comprised of one vein carrying oxygen rich blood to the baby, and two arteries that return deoxygenated blood and waste products back to the placenta. It is the lifeline from mother to baby.

What Happens When Baby is Born? 
The umbilical cord is live tissue and attached to the placenta at the time of delivery. When the baby is born, the cord is immediately clamped and “cut”, which is sometimes the role of the accompanying parent in the delivery room. Or, other times, the accompanying parent is completely freaked out by the concept (my One Sassy Husband for example). The reason the cord is cut is the baby no longer needs to have nutrients and oxygen transmitted from mom to baby; baby can do this on her own! After that first cry, the healthy baby is breathing and getting oxygen through the lungs. Some pretty cool anatomical & physiological changes occur during those first few hours & days, topics we’ll cover in future postings.

Stumped on How To Care for the Cord? 
I hope you caught the pun in the title above. In our next post, we’ll cover the essentials of caring for baby’s umbilical stump so that your baby has a healthy and gorgeous belly button. For now, watch out for that nursing bra. Who would have thought it’s an umbilical stump hazard! Ahhhh, parenting challenges never end … we’re here to help!

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