Within about one to three weeks after birth, your newborn's umbilical stump will turn black, dry out and fall off. Here are some tips on taking care of baby's umbilical stump:
- Clean the base of the stump two or three times a day with a sterile cotton ball or gauze soaked with water. Recent studies suggest that alcohol swabbing is not necessary, as it may delay the stump from falling off.
- In order to keep the stump dry, fasten diapers below the navel. The baby's shirt should also be rolled above the stump, to allow free circulation of air.
- Until the umbilical stump has fallen off, avoid tub-bathing. Instead, sponge-bathe, or wash baby with your hands, keeping the stump area as dry as possible.
- When the cord falls, there may be slight bleeding in the navel area. This isn't cause for concern and should disappear in two or three days.
- If you notice any foul smell, reddening or oozing around the umbilical stump, be sure to report it to your doctor, as well as any bleeding that lasts for more than three days.