0 - 12 Weeks

Umbilical cord care do’s and don’ts

Caregiver giving a baby a bath

During pregnancy, the umbilical cord provides nutrients and oxygen to your baby as they develop in the womb. After delivery, the cord is clamped and cut, leaving a small stump on your baby’s belly button.

When does the umbilical cord fall off?

The umbilical cord stump usually dries up and falls off in a baby’s first 5 to 15 days of life.

Caring for your baby’s cord stump

  • Keep it dry. Expose the stump to air as much as possible and avoid swabbing it with rubbing alcohol. (Swabbing is no longer recommended, as it can delay the healing process.) If necessary, use a little gauze or a cotton swab and water to cleanse the area gently, then pat it dry.
  • Diaper around it. Fold down the front of your baby’s diaper to allow extra space. Many diaper brands have a contoured shape and umbilical cord cutout to help prevent irritation.
  • Stick to sponge baths. Avoid submerging your baby in water until after the cord stump has fallen off. 
  • Let nature take its course. Resist the urge to pull off your baby’s cord stump.

When to call the doctor

Normal signs of healing include a slight smell as the stump heals, stains on your baby’s clothing, small amounts of yellow- or green-tinged discharge, or even a little blood or scabbing around the base. Contact your baby’s pediatrician if you see signs of infection like discoloration, swelling, or large amounts of whitish discharge or bleeding. If your baby’s cord stump hasn’t fallen off within 3 weeks after birth, call your pediatrician.


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Posted in: 0 - 12 Weeks, Bathtime, Newborn Care, Lovevery App, Child Development, Parenting

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