A Cordless Child

Should parents sterilize umbilical stump?

(HealthDayNews) -- Remember when you brought your baby back from the hospital? Every time you changed the diaper, you had to carefully wipe the stump of the umbilical cord with a bit of alcohol to help it dry and fall off.

Well, reports the Journal of Obstetrics Gynecology and Neonatal Nursing, that bit of extra care was a waste of time.

In a study of 1,811 newborns, there was no increase in the infection rate of those whose cords were left to air dry and those whose umbilical cords were regularly wiped with alcohol. The only difference was that of the infants whose cords air dried, most cords fell off after 8.2 days. The alcohol treated cords hung on for an average of 9.8 days.

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