In any pregnancy, there is a lot of physical and emotional attachment that is associated with the umbilical cord. After all, this is what connects the mother to the child at the physical level and ensures the transfer of nutrients. However, you will be surprised to know that one of the most common causes of concern in growing babies is actually an issue that is associated with their umbilical cord. To be more precise, this condition is associated with the baby's belly button or the part of the umbilical cord that connects itself to the rest of the body.
Known as umbilical hernia, this is where the baby's belly button is seen to pop out. Many parents find this particular condition alarming and mistake it for something that would require surgical intervention. However, that is far from being true.
As a matter of fact, umbilical hernia is way more common than what you think particularly in children who are about a few months of age. In order to educate you about the same, this article talks about this particular condition and all that you need to do if you find your little one suffering from it.
- Umbilical Care In Babies
- What Is Umbilical Hernia?
- When Should You See The Doctor?
- How To Treat This Condition?
Umbilical Care In Babies
Once a child is delivered, the umbilical cord is clamped and is cut out close to the body. In order to ensure that the baby is not subjected to any form of pain or risk of infection, an umbilical stump is left behind. It is nature's way of healing that this stump will dry up on its own and fall off in 7 to 21 days' time. However, till that happens, it is of utmost importance to take proper care and ensure umbilical hygiene for your little one.
Make sure that you keep the umbilical stump dry and clean and fold diapers away from it. Under all situations make sure that you avoid any contact with urine. Try to keep the baby's body (and particularly the umbilical stump) airy. For this, you can make the baby wear a diaper and a loose tee shirt. Make sure that you avoid draping him or her in bodysuit style clothing.
It will also be a good idea to avoid giving your little one tub baths in the initial weeks of his or her life. You can rather go for sponge baths. This type of basic umbilical hygiene practices on your part will go a long way in giving your baby the gift of a long and healthy life ahead.
What Is Umbilical Hernia?
In very basic terms it can be said that a hernia is nothing but a protrusion of an internal part. It is important to realize that in the case of babies, their bodies are not yet fully developed and a hernia occurs when an internal organ pushes itself through a weak spot in the abdomen. It does become visible in the form of a bump or lump.
The most common type of hernia in babies is that of umbilical hernia. What happens here is that when they cry or are in pain (or in any other type of stress for that matter) the belly button pushes itself out.
Under normal relaxed conditions, the baby's belly button remains where it should be. About 10 per cent of all babies suffer from umbilical hernia in the initial days of their life. Many of these cases go unreported as the condition is something that generally cures itself over a period of time without requiring any form of medical intervention.
When Should You See The Doctor?
In the area where the child's torso meets the thigh, parents often notice a lump. The nature of this lump may vary from that of moderately soft to pretty hard. In case you do notice such a thing, you should notify your doctor about the same.
Although this is not something that you should be afraid of, it is always better to keep your doctor in the loop about your child's umbilical hernia (so that he or she can examine the same on your next appointment to make sure that it is not a symptom of something else).
Umbilical hernia is not painful for the child. In case you do find your little one to be in pain because of this, you should immediately rush him or her to the nearby hospital. This is because such a condition may signify the intestine being twisted and if that is the case, it is a medical emergency which if not taken care of at the correct time might even prove fatal.
How To Treat This Condition?
Realize that this is a condition that is diagnosed after taking into consideration the various symptoms that the child has to go through. In some cases, when the hernia is hard and unmovable or the pediatrician has some doubts about the nature of the hernia, she or he may go for an ultrasound or an abdominal X-ray that is to be performed on the baby.
However, on a positive note, it is seen that most cases of umbilical hernia do not require any treatment (either surgical or medicinal). If left unattended, the same goes away by the time the child is about a year of age. This is because, by then the child's abdominal muscles grow stronger and the internal organs are unable to push themselves out.
In the rare cases when the condition does not subside, the child may need to go through the aforementioned X-ray or ultrasound. Usually, most pediatricians avoid performing surgery till the child is about 4 or 5 years of age.
Thus, having understood all the aforementioned points about hernia you must be feeling relaxed about the same. You are also better equipped now to understand when there is a cause of concern and take appropriate precautionary measures to ensure that it does not do any real damage to your precious baby. On that note, we wish you a happy parenting ahead.
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