Most women who give birth in the hospital are usually trained to care for the umbilical cord stump by applying alcohol to the cord stump at every diaper change, and by not getting the umbilical cord wet until it falls off. However, wise women from all parts of the globe have found other remedies simpler, more natural, and just as effective.
First of all, whether you keep the cord stump from getting wet or not is a matter of preference. The main reasons that some say the cord should be kept dry are to prevent infection, and because, very simply, getting something wet that you are trying to dry out doesn't make sense. However, in my work with women I have known those who kept it absolutely dry, not even applying alcohol, and I have know those who bathed the baby every day with pure water and applied nothing else, and both sets of babies had no infection and the cords fell off equally fast. Many people do not realize that water itself has a drying effect on the skin. Bathing with pure water also inhibits infection.
Here are some things that women through the ages have used on the cord stump:
1. Goldenseal powder - helps dry out the cord while at the same time inhibiting the growth of bacteria which causes infection.
2. Honey - it is also safe to use on all burns and wounds.
3. Witch Hazel - is a powerful astringent and dries the cord quickly, but does not sting like alcohol can.
4. Comfrey Leaf Compresses - soothes torn and cut skin, promotes quick healing.
5. Fresh air and sunlight.
6. Consider using diaperless babycare.
7. Many people do nothing except bathe the baby as they normally would.
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