How to Take Care of the Umbilical Cord

Mother with a newborn baby

When babies are in the womb, they receive all their nourishment and oxygen from their mother through the placenta, an organ that is attached to the lining of the womb. The placenta itself is connected to the baby by a long, thick rope known as the umbilical cord, which is vital to your baby development. It is the umbilical cord that allows them to receive energy and oxygen.

However, after the baby is born, the cord is no longer needed and is clamped and cut after birth. What’s left is an umbilical stump (attached to the baby’s belly button) that eventually shrivels up and falls off.

Your baby will have their umbilical cord stump for a few days

The umbilical stump will usually drop off on its own in 7 to 21 days. Over that time it will change from bluish white to black as it dries out and eventually falls off leaving a small wound. For that period of time, here are a few tips to follow to take care of the umbilical cord stump1:

  • Keep the umbilical cord stump clean – Parents were once instructed to swab the stump with rubbing alcohol after every diaper change. Researchers now say the stump might heal faster if left alone. If the stump becomes dirty or sticky, clean it with plain water — then dry it by holding a clean, absorbent cloth around the stump or fanning it with a piece of paper.
  • Keep the umbilical cord dry – Keep the front of your baby’s diaper folded down to avoid covering the stump. In warm weather, dress your baby in a diaper and t-shirt to improve air circulation.
  • Give your baby sponge baths instead of tub baths until the stump falls off.
  • Never attempt to pull off the stump, even if it seems to be hanging by a thread.
  • Don’t use alcohol to clean the stump.
  • Once the stump falls off, continue to clean around the navel at least once a day until the navel has completely healed.

What are the signs of an umbilical cord stump infection?

Infections to the umbilical cord stump are very rare, but consult your baby’s doctor if you notice any of the following things:

  • Your baby cries excessively when you touch the cord or the area just next to it.
  • If the skin around the base of the cord looks red and inflamed.
  • If the stump smells foul or has a yellowish discharge.
  • Your baby has a fever
  • During the healing process, it’s normal to see a little blood near the stump, but call your doctor if there is any excessive bleeding.

If in doubt any of the above, be sure to speak to your midwife, doctor, or other healthcare professional.

Shop Forte Supplement Products

1- Mayo clinic. Healthy Lifestyle. Infant and toddler health.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *