To paint or not to paint... cords

  1. just curious what differnt hoipsitals do for cord care...

    we use triple dye (blue) and then alcohol a few times a shift.

    my kids were born at home. i put alcohol on my daughter's cord 2 - 3 times a day. it fell off in about 2 1/2 to 3 weeks.

    when my twins came, i used goldenseal powder instead (a natural anti-infective - or health food store antibiotic, if you will - popular among homebirthers). two or three time a day, i would open a capsule and sprinkle a little bit of the mustard-yellow powder on and around the cord. the twins cords dried right up and fell of at 3 and 4 days of age, respectively. since then, i've been sold on using goldenseal for cords - too bad i can't use it at work.
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  2. 23 Comments

  3. by   Gompers
    The most current research is telling us not to use anything. Studies have shown that by just keeping the cord clean and open to air will cause it to fall off much sooner than if alcohol is used. There is "good" bacteria that colonizes on the cord and helps it fall off, and by using alcohol we're eliminating some of that effect.

    I can't speak about triple dye or the powder since I have no experience with either.
  4. by   babynrsrn
    We used to use Triple Dye until about a year ago now we can either use triple dye or do nothing. I do nothing because I hate painting the babies with that dye but the old school nurses still triple dye because it's what they are used to.
  5. by   babyktchr
    The World Health Organization came out with a statement a few years ago, and it stated that doing NOTHING was the thing to do with cord care. It was stated that alcohol took away the "good" bacteria. We do nothing with cords now.

    I recently read a great article in JOGN that studied the drying times of cords using nothing, alcohol and breastmilk. Seems in the end...breastmilk dried the cord faster, but not significantly enough to proclaim its universal use. Yet another use for a most fabulous creation!!!
  6. by   rn/writer
    We don't use anything on our postpartum unit. We teach the moms to keep the area clean and to avoid immersion in a bath until the cord falls off. We no longer advocate the use of alcohol or anything else on the drying cord.
  7. by   whiskeygirl
    We too use nothing. We had been only using alcohol up to about 3 years ago. The hospital I worked at did a study with the nearby university hospital. It was found that the alcohol had no benificial effect, and I am sure it costs the hospital a lot less in labor and supplies.
  8. by   33-weeker
    i was unaware of the 'good bacteria', but i had heard that the alcohol acted as a preservative and actually made the cords stay on longer.

    hmmm... interesting......
  9. by   SmilingBluEyes
    we have not used triple dye in years and now are not encouraging etoh on cord. We teach basic hygiene and s/s infection.
  10. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    We still use dye.
  11. by   ragingmomster
    I am hoping that some of our Aussie friends will chime in on this one.

    My dear SIL is in Sydney and has had 3 births there. She tells me that full immersion baths are not discouraged before the cord falls off and that she was educated to leave the cord OTA as much as possible.
  12. by   Halinja
    In our OB class we were shown the research showing that it is best to do nothing, or use breast milk (Yep, I saw that one too!)

    Then, in the very next sentence our instructor said...but when you are in clinical at XYZ hospital, you will use alcohol on the baby's cord, and instruct the mother to do so as well.

    So much for evidence based practice. :icon_roll
  13. by   prmenrs
    I'm in the "don't put anything on it, sponge baths only, low diaper and these are the s/s of oomphalitis, call immediately if you see it" camp.

    If I know what the recommendations from AAP, CDC, "evidence-based practice" are, (and what the reasons behind the recommendations are), I really do try to change my practice. Do you know how hard that is for an old gomer like me???
  14. by   htrn
    All kiddos get cord painted with betadine, then most get alcohol q shift. One MD has them get betadine daily and alcohol q shift.

    We had a run of oomphalitis (?sp) several years ago, docs and NM did alot of research and we essentially do the same thing we always did. Only thing that changed was that nurses are now 'allowed' to remove clamps when the cord is dry enough - we don't have to wait for the MD to do it on day of discharge.

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