Umbilical Issues

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.

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Pediatrician DR.PAUL Roumeliotis is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The information provided above is designed to be an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace the advice and care of your child’s physician, nor is it intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. If you suspect that your child has a medical condition always consult a physician.