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Pregnancy & ChildbirthWellness & PreventionTreatment & Care

Baby Care: Umbilical Cord Care

The baby’s umbilical cord stump will usually dry and fall off 2 to 3 weeks after birth. To help prevent infection and to help it to dry, clean the base of the cord stump at each diaper change with a cotton ball soaked with alcohol. Your baby may cry when you touch him with the cold alcohol. This is not painful to your baby. Clean with water if cord is soiled with urine or stool. If your baby’s cord is not dry before you go home, the clamp will not be removed. The clamp will fall off with the cord in 2 to 3 weeks. Give sponge baths until the cord stump falls off and the navel is completely healed. Try to keep the diaper positioned below the navel until it has completely healed.

Call the doctor if the cord:

  • Becomes red
  • Bleeds
  • Smells bad
  • Has pus at its base
  • Has red skin around its base
  • Is so sensitive that your baby cries when you touch the cord and the skin next to it with your finger.

 How to Care for Your Baby's Umbilical Cord