Newborns and their umbilical cord stumps, ugh. Am I right? And I’m not talking about their appearance, either. They may not be the cutest part of new babies, but that’s not my issue. It’s how those scabby little things never fail to catch on diapers and blankets and shirts, making me think I’m going to accidentally rip them right off. I like to consider myself a relatively calm and rational mother, but up until about a week ago, I half-believed that if the scab fell off before the skin underneath had healed, that little belly button knot would unravel and things would start falling out.
No worries, though! Turns out that’s not the case, and I know because our little girl kicked her protruding little umbilical cord stump so hard somewhere around the two-week mark that half of it tore off and went skittering across the floor with our old pug in hot pursuit (which was the least of my worries at that point in time).
She wasn’t fazed, but I took one look at the wet, totally not healed stuff inside that little belly button and nearly passed out. I hovered over her, waiting for things to start unraveling and frantically considering which nearby items I might use—hair tie? Paper clip? Ouch, no.
But she just waved her arms around and kicked her legs, totally unconcerned with the drama unfolding around her. So I did the worst possible thing and jumped online, where I learned about some potentially lethal (and incredibly uncommon) umbilical cord stump complications. Then I looked at my happy baby and got a grip. She was fine and a good close belly button sniff revealed, well, nothing. There was nothing to smell, which meant no infection. We kept up the belly button sniffing over the next few days, and then one morning I pulled off her little blanket and the rest of the stump fell out with it. And yay, because that meant her first real bath—a memory I’ll think of far more fondly than the one where I wrestled our pug out from behind the couch to pry a black scabby thing from the few teeth he has left.