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why do they say not to put alcohol on a baby's umbilical cord to help dry it up?

12 votes
Why do they day not to put alcohol on a baby's umbilical cord to help dry it out?
asked in Baby feeding by star49 (70 points)

7 Answers

2 votes
It might get drunk?  LOL, sorry, terrible joke!
answered by bcpotts (7,692 points)
That's good ... wouldn't want an unruly umbilical cord!
3 votes
It dries slightly faster without alcohol, but otherwise there is no harm in using it.  It tends to help with the smell though.
answered by cmic (4,473 points)
1 vote
News to me. I havent kept up on the newest thoughts on that - we were told to do it 8 years ago.
answered by Guppy (6,009 points)
2 votes
I would imagine because it is very sensitive skin.  Imagine the pain you would feel if you are a newborn.  Not sure though.  Good question.
answered by JessieNJane (188 points)
I actually don't think they feel anything. I swabbed my dauhgter's 2 or 3 times with alcohol after it fell off and she never even flinched.
2 votes
I think you CAN use it because they say it will dry up in the same amount of time. There for there is actually no reason NOT to use the alcohol. People have been using it for years. It can cause some dryness and irritation, never a problem on my part.  I used it every time I changed a diaper because I though it helped with the smell. Try to keep it dry and no lotion that can also make it stink really bad.
answered by Holly (201 points)
2 votes
According to what I've read, too much alcohol can actually make the umbilical cord stump stay on longer, which most parents definitely don't want.

Apparently studies indicate alcohol doesn't have the protective effect against infections as once thought as opposed to allowing the umbilical cord to dry on its own.
answered by jenmccaul (690 points)
1 vote
I was told the same thing at the hospital to just leave it alone.They say that it actually helps it fall off sooner. Well when it fell off it coincided with a visit to the pediatrician and I asked her to look at her bellybutton. She was happy with the way it looked and I expressed concern that sometimes there was a little discharge (like dried blood) and that is smelled a little. She promptly grabbed a qtip and dipped it in alcohol and showed me how to clean it saying that the alcohol would help dry it out. I only did it 2 more times after that and now her bellybutton looks great. Every doctor has a way of doing things. If your pedi is anything like mine, trust them, they know what they are doing.
answered by mbreda (211 points)