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Umbilical Cord Bleeding: When To Worry

Umbilical Cord Bleeding: When To Worry

Anxiety, unfortunately, is an unavoidable part of being a new parent and one thing that many parents worry about when they take their newborn home is how to care for the umbilical cord and bellybutton. This anxiety can be greatly reduced, however, if parents understand what is normal when it comes to observing the umbilical cord and what needs to be reported to the doctor.

What is involved in Umbilical Cord Care?

According to the Mayo Clinic, umbilical cord care is fairly simple and straightforward. It includes washing the umbilical cord with plain water (studies now show that rubbing alcohol does not reduce risk of infections), keeping it dry by making sure the diaper is folded beneath it to leave it open to the air, giving the baby a sponge bath until the cord falls off and allowing it to fall off naturally.

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It is also important to be able to assess the baby’s umbilical cord site and belly button in order to determine if it is healing normally or if it has become infected.

Umbilical Cord Bleeding:What is Normal?

It is normal that newborns will bleed from their belly buttons after their umbilical cord falls off; this bleeding can occur right after the cord falls off or can happen as much as a week later. This is especially likely to happen if the cord comes off early due to being accidently tugged or pulled. You will probably notice that there is a small amount of blood on the baby’s T-shirt or onesie or in the diaper when you do a diaper change.

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Also normal is a small amount of discharge from the belly button. This discharge can often be yellow or green in color and parents may worry that it is pus, but it is actually just mucus and is not a sign that the umbilicus is infected. You might notice this on the baby’s T-shirt, onesie or diaper for up to 2 weeks after the cord falls off.

In short, both a small amount of blood and small amount of yellow or green drainage is normal and nothing you should worry about.

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Umbilical Cord Bleeding: When to Worry?

There are, however, signs and symptoms that should concern you as a parent and that should be reported to the doctor.

One of these signs is excessive bleeding that drips or pools or reappears immediately after you have wiped it away during a diaper change or bath. If this happens, you should pack the belly-button with gauze, put pressure against your baby’s tummy and then put on his diaper and a snug outfit. Keep this pressure on for 15 minutes and then check it again. If the bleeding has stopped, keep the belly button packed with gauze for another day and check it every hour to make sure everything is ok. However, if the bleeding continues when you remove the gauze, you should call your doctor.

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And while some oozing from the belly button is normal, you should report excessive oozing to the doctor as well. Occasionally, you may need to take your baby to the doctor and have him treated with silver nitrate.

Also, you need to know what signs and symptoms to look for that indicate that the belly button is actually infected. This infection is called omphalitis and while it is rare, it can also be very dangerous for your baby. The most common signs and symptoms of an infected umbilical cord include foul-smelling drainage and redness or swelling around the belly button. The baby may or may not be running a fever during this episode. If you suspect that there is an infection, you should make an appointment with your doctor right away. Your baby might need to be given an antibiotic to clear the infection up.

The takeaway here is that knowing what is and is not normal will allow you to feel less anxiety about umbilical cord bleeding/bely button care – and will also make the decision about whether or not to seek medical attention easier to determine.

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Brian Wu

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Published on January 30, 2019

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

In roughly 60 percent of two-parent households with children under the age of 18, both parents work full time. But who takes time off work when the kids are sick in your house? And if you are a manager, how do you react when a man says he needs time to take his baby to the pediatrician?

The sad truth is, the default in many companies and families is to value the man’s work over the woman’s—even when there is no significant difference in their professional obligations or compensation. This translates into stereotypes in the workplace that women are the primary caregivers, which can negatively impact women’s success on the job and their upward mobility.

According to a Pew Research Center analysis of long-term time-use data (1965–2011), fathers in dual-income couples devote significantly less time than mothers do to child care.[1] Dads are doing more than twice as much housework as they used to (from an average of about four hours per week to about 10 hours), but there is still a significant imbalance.

This is not just an issue between spouses; it’s a workplace culture issue. In many offices, it is still taboo for dads to openly express that they have family obligations that need their attention. In contrast, the assumption that moms will be on the front lines of any family crisis is one that runs deep.

Consider an example from my company. A few years back, one of our team members joined us for an off-site meeting soon after returning from maternity leave. Not even two hours into her trip, her husband called to say that the baby had been crying nonstop. While there was little our colleague could practically do to help with the situation, this call was clearly unsettling, and the result was that her attention was divided for the rest of an important business dinner.

This was her first night away since the baby’s birth, and I know that her spouse had already been on several business trips before this event. Yet, I doubt she called him during his conferences to ask child-care questions. Like so many moms everywhere, she was expected to figure things out on her own.

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The numbers show that this story is far from the exception. In another Pew survey, 47 percent of dual-income parents agreed that the moms take on more of the work when a child gets sick.[2] In addition, 39 percent of working mothers said they had taken a significant amount of time off from work to care for their child compared to just 24 percent of working fathers. Mothers are also more likely than fathers (27 percent to 10 percent) to say they had quit their job at some point for family reasons.

Before any amazing stay-at-home-dads post an angry rebuttal comment, I want to be very clear that I am not judging how families choose to divide and conquer their personal and professional responsibilities; that’s 100 percent their prerogative. Rather, I am taking aim at the culture of inequity that persists even when spouses have similar or identical professional responsibilities. This is an important issue for all of us because we are leaving untapped business and human potential on the table.

What’s more, I think my fellow men can do a lot about this. For those out there who still privately think that being a good dad just means helping out mom, it’s time to man up. Stop expecting working partners—who have similar professional responsibilities—to bear the majority of the child-care responsibilities as well.

Consider these ways to support your working spouse:

1. Have higher expectations for yourself as a father; you are a parent, not a babysitter.

Know who your pediatrician is and how to reach him or her. Have a back-up plan for transportation and emergency coverage.

Don’t simply expect your partner to manage all these invisible tasks on her own. Parenting takes effort and preparation for the unexpected.

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As in other areas of life, the way to build confidence is to learn by doing. Moms aren’t born knowing how to do this stuff any more than dads are.

2. Treat your partner the way you’d want to be treated.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a man on a business trip say to his wife on a call something to the effect of, “I am in the middle of a meeting. What do you want me to do about it?”

However, when the tables are turned, men often make that same call at the first sign of trouble.

Distractions like this make it difficult to focus and engage with work, which perpetuates the stereotype that working moms aren’t sufficiently committed.

When you’re in charge of the kids, do what she would do: Figure it out.

3. When you need to take care of your kids, don’t make an excuse that revolves around your partner’s availability.

This implies that the children are her first priority and your second.

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I admit I have been guilty in the past of telling clients, “I have the kids today because my wife had something she could not move.” What I should have said was, “I’m taking care of my kids today.”

Why is it so hard for men to admit they have personal responsibilities? Remember that you are setting an example for your sons and daughters, and do the right thing.

4. As a manager, be supportive of both your male and female colleagues when unexpected situations arise at home.

No one likes or wants disruptions, but life happens, and everyone will face a day when the troubling phone call comes from his sitter, her school nurse, or even elderly parents.

Accommodating personal needs is not a sign of weakness as a leader. Employees will be more likely to do great work if they know that you care about their personal obligations and family—and show them that you care about your own.

5. Don’t keep score or track time.

At home, it’s juvenile to get into debates about who last changed a diaper or did the dishes; everyone needs to contribute, but the big picture is what matters. Is everyone healthy and getting enough sleep? Are you enjoying each other’s company?

In business, too, avoid the trap of punching a clock. The focus should be on outcomes and performance rather than effort and inputs. That’s the way to maintain momentum toward overall goals.

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The Bottom Line

To be clear, I recognize that a great many working dads are doing a terrific job both on the home front and in their professional lives. My concern is that these standouts often aren’t visible to their colleagues; they intentionally or inadvertently let their work as parents fly under the radar. Dads need to be open and honest about family responsibilities to change perceptions in the workplace.

The question “How do you balance it all?” should not be something that’s just asked of women. Frankly, no one can answer that question. Juggling a career and parental responsibilities is tough. At times, really tough.

But it’s something that more parents should be doing together, as a team. This can be a real bonus for the couple relationship as well, because nothing gets in the way of good partnership faster than feelings of inequity.

On the plus side, I can tell you that parenting skills really do get better with practice—and that’s great for people of both sexes. I think our cultural expectations that women are the “nurturers” and men are the “providers” needs to evolve. Expanding these definitions will open the doors to richer contributions from everyone, because women can and should be both—and so should men.

Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

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