Background: Several agents have been used for neonatal umbilical cord care, but we did not find any study evaluating the effect of human milk on umbilical cord separation time. The purpose of this study was to compare the effect of topical application of human milk, ethyl alcohol 96%, and silver sulfadiazine on umbilical cord separation time in newborn infants. This study was undertaken place at a primary-level newborn nursery at a university teaching hospital and a private hospital. Of 373 singleton near- to full-term newborns enrolled in the study, 312 completed the study.
Methods: Newborns from birth were randomized to either: 1) mother's milk group, 2) alcohol group, 3) silver sulfadiazine group, and 4) control (no treatment) group. Mother's milk for group 1, ethyl alcohol for group 2, and silver sulfadiazine ointment for group 3 were applied to the umbilical stump three hours after birth and continued every eight hours until two days after umbilical cord separation. The time to umbilical cord separation and any discomfort such as infection, hemorrhage, and granuloma formation were reported by mothers. Nothing was applied to the umbilical stump of the control group and they received dry cord care only.
Results: It was observed a significant difference in the mean cord separation time among the four group. No significant complications were observed in any group.
Conclusion: Breast milk could be substituted for other topical agents for umbilical cord care, but a multicenter study is required in order to advise it for routine umbilical cord care.