Umbilical Cord Care (Belly Button)

The umbilical cord was clamped and cut after birth. The plastic clamp is usually removed before you go home from the hospital. The cord stump turns black and dries up until it separates in 1 to 3 weeks, sometimes longer. It is important to keep the area clean and dry to prevent infection.

To care for the cord stump, use rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball or swab at every diaper change.  It is also ok to use only soap and water.  Gently pull the skin away from the cord, and clean around the base of the cord where it touches the skin. This will not hurt your baby.

Until the cord stump falls off and the navel heals, your baby should not have a tub bath. However, you will still need to wash your baby. This is done by a sponge bath. Using warm water and a wash cloth, simply wipe your baby from head to toe

Sometimes after the cord falls off, there may be a few drops of blood, but this is no cause for worry. If the area around the cord becomes red or has pus coming from it, call your baby’s health care provider.

Sometimes babies have a hernia or swelling of the belly button. It is harmless and painless. Do not tape a coin or place a bandage over the hernia. It usually resolves on its own as your child grows.