How To Care For Newborn Umbilical Cord

Instincts In New Babies

EASY Newborn Umbilical Cord Care

Babies are born knowing how to suck. During the first few days they learn to co-ordinate their sucking with their breathing during feeding.

Newborn babies also automatically turn towards a nipple or teat if it’s brushed against their cheek, and they’ll open their mouths if their upper lip is stroked.

What Does It Look Like When The Umbilical Cord Falls Off

After the stump falls off, the skin underneath should be healed. Sometimes, the skin may be a little raw, and a little fluid may seep out.

Continue to keep the areas dry and clean and it will soon heal. Contact your healthcare provider if the skin hasnât healed within two weeks of the stump falling off.

Cost And Source Of Substance

Few articles investigated the source of the substances applied to the umbilical cord and none reported on the cost of the substances applied. Shea butter or cooking oil were purchased from the market . One study reported that the cooking oil applied to the cord is generally a recycled product bought at the local market that had been previously used .

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Warning Signs Of Umbilical Cord Infection

Signs of an umbilical cord infection may include if your babys umbilical cord stump:

  • appears red or swollen in the surrounding area
  • has a strong odor
  • is streaked with red around the navel, or is discharging fluid

While its normal for a few drops of blood to appear when the stump separates, if you notice any of these signs of infection, call your babys pediatrician.

Signs Of Infected Umbilical Cord

How to care for your baby

Every parent and relative is very careful about the babys umbilical cord. After it is healed, the chances of getting it infected are reduced. But if it does, the condition is called Omphalitis.

Lets understand some of the signs of Infected Umbilical Cord-

  • Foul smell
  • Crying when you touch the cord
  • Discharge
  • Red skin or swollen skin
  • Bleeding

Umbilical Cord Complications

There are two complications which can arise of Umbilical cord, and you should know about it-

  • Umbilical granuloma- After the stump gets fallen, many babies develop this umbilical granuloma. It is a small lump that is red or pink in color in the belly button. You can also see the lump oozing out.

This umbilical granuloma gets better on its own, so just make sure that the belly button is clean and dry.

  • Umbilical hernia- If you see swelling or bulging near the belly button, it can be an Umbilical hernia. It is easily noticeable when your baby strains for poo or cries. This hernia will go away when your child reaches the age of 3-5 years.

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How Long Does The Cord Stay Attached For

The cord stump usually stays attached for 5 to 15 days. Over this time, the cord dries, shrinks and turns black. Sometimes, especially in the day or so before it falls off, the stump can ooze a little and may leave marks on your babys clothes.

Do not pull the cord stump off, even if it looks like it will come off easily, as this can prolong healing time and cause scarring. Let the cord stump fall off by itself in its own time.

When the stump falls off, there is sometimes a little bleeding at the stump site. This is normal and it should stop quickly.

Please see your doctor or maternal and child health nurse if you have any concerns, or speak to Pregnancy, Birth and Baby on 1800 882 436.

Before The Stump Falls Off

Until your baby’s umbilical cord stump falls off:

  • wash your hands before and after you touch the cord
  • clean around the base of the cord if needed with cotton wool and cooled boiled water
  • keep the belly button area dry after you clean it
  • inspect the umbilical cord at every nappy change to make sure there is no redness there
  • fold your baby’s nappy down, away from the stump
  • make sure that the nappy is not covering the cord

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Umbilical Cord Cutting In A Newborn

When the baby is born, there is no need for umbilical cord anymore and it is cut as early as 1 minute after the birth. The cord is clamped to help seal off the open blood vessels and then cut close to babys tummy. The clamp is usually plastic, but in some cases, it may be metal clamp or a cord tape. Within 2-3 weeks, the stump dries off and fall on its own.

How The Umbilical Cord Is Cut

Newborn Umbilical Cord Care

Your baby will have a clamp put on their umbilical cord about 3 to 4 cm from their belly button. A plastic clip is then placed further up the cord.

The cord is then cut between the clips leaving a stump of 2 to 3cm . There are no nerve endings in the cord so this procedure is not painful for you or your baby.

Your baby’s umbilical cord stump will fall off in its own time, usually 5 to 15 days after birth.

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How To Care For Your Newborn’s Umbilical Cord Stump

Its one thing that freaks out many new parents a little bit. That little stump on their newborn babys tummy from the umbilical cord.

Its weird. It gets crusty. And then it falls off? Does it hurt?

I get a lot of questions from new moms and dads about caring for the umbilical cord stump. So lets take a moment to appreciate babys little button.

How Do I Care For My Babys Belly Button After The Umbilical Cord Falls Off

Your childs belly button might bleed a little when the cord falls off. Bleeding is similar to a scab falling off and light bleeding is normal. If your child bleeds continuously when their cord falls off, visit the emergency room.

A couple of days after the stump falls off your baby, continue giving them a sponge bath to make sure the entire cord removed itself and there is no bleeding from the area. Then, you can let your baby take a bath in a tub.

Can I throw away my babys umbilical cord stump when it falls off?

Yes, you can dispose of your babys umbilical cord stump after it falls off.

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When Should I See My Healthcare Provider

Visit your childs healthcare provider if their umbilical stump:

  • Doesnt fall off after three weeks.
  • Leaks pus or fluid.
  • Bleeds and doesnt stop.

If your baby has a fever or wont feed normally, call your provider immediately.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

The best way to care for your newborns umbilical cord is to keep it clean and dry. Make sure you fold your childs diaper in the front so it doesnt cover up the stump and make it harder for it to dry up. Avoid the temptation to help your childs cord fall off by pulling on it. Talk to your provider if you notice signs of an infection, especially swelling, fever or your baby has trouble feeding normally.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/14/2022.


Care Of Umbilical Cord Stump/ Cleaning Newborn Umbilical Cord

The Umbilical Cord Fell Off, What Should I Do?

After birth, umbilical cord is clamped and cut close to body. Even though the tissues are not needed anymore, it takes a few days for clip to fall on its own and for the wound to dry and heal completely and leave a clean belly button. Till then, it is important to keep it clean and dry and take care of it.

  • When you get discharged from the hospital, you will be given sterilized cotton swabs and rubbing alcohol to clean the umbilical cord stump. This may be done once or twice a day. The cleaning should be done very gently.
  • Some doctors advise to let it dry naturally, which is considered a better way now.
  • Unless your doctor advise you otherwise, you may choose to bathe your baby very gently. If you are worried or if you have been advised by babys doctor not to wet the stump, just sponge the baby using a wash-cloth till the wound heals.
  • Make sure babys clothing is loose and diaper is worn below the umbilical cord stump. The stump should get lots of air to heal fast. Babys clothing should always be 100% cotton.
  • Even if stump looks try, do not try and pull it off, wait for it to fall naturally. It doesnt take long.

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When Should I Be Concerned About My Babys Umbilical Bleeding

If you have difficulty stopping your babys umbilical cord from bleeding or the blood is more than a few drops, you may want to call your babys doctor. This bleeding could indicate an infection.

Other accompanying infection signs include the following:

  • The skin surrounding the belly button looks very red. The belly button may feel warmer than the skin surrounding it.
  • There is cloudy or pus-like drainage around the belly button. Sometimes it has a foul smell. Some discharge and odor can be normal as the cord is separating.
  • Your baby seems to be uncomfortable or in pain if the belly button is touched.

Jaundice In New Babies

When they’re about 2 to 3 days old, some babies develop mild jaundice. This will make their skin and the whites of their eyes look a bit yellow. It’s caused by pigments released during the breakdown of old red blood cells.

It’s more common in babies delivered by forceps or ventouse. It usually fades on its own within about 10 days, but more severe jaundice may need treatment.

Find out about newborn jaundice.

If your baby develops jaundice in their first 24 hours, they should be checked by a health professional straight away.

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Infected Umbilical Cord Or Belly Button

Healing belly buttons almost always look worse than they actually are, even when they’re progressing normally. It’s rare that a healing umbilical cord stump gets infected, but when it does, the condition is called omphalitis.

Watch for these symptoms of a newborn belly button infection, or omphalitis:

  • Red skin or a red, swollen appearance at the base of the cord
  • A fluid-filled lump on or near your baby’s umbilical cord stump
  • Oozing pus or discharge

Signs Of An Infected Umbilical Cord Stump

Newborn Care: Umbilical Cord Care

Itâs unlikely your babyâs umbilical cord stump will become infected, but if you notice any of these signs of an infected umbilical cord, contact your babyâs healthcare provider.

These are some of the signs of an infected umbilical cord:

  • A smelly yellow discharge from the stump area

  • A reddening of the skin around the stump

  • Swelling of the navel area

  • Your baby crying when you touch the stump, indicating it is tender or sore.

Itâs normal to see crusted discharge, dried blood, or a little bleeding when the umbilical cord stump falls off. Bleeding is not necessarily a sign that your newbornâs belly button is infected, but if your babyâs umbilical cord area continues to bleed ask your childâs healthcare provider for advice.

Read more about baby skin care so that you can help keep your little oneâs soft skin healthy and clean.

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What Are The Signs Of Umbilical Stump Infection

Umbilical cord can act as a portal of entry for infections. This could be particularly morbid in newborn babies. Keep an eye out for following signs and symptoms to seek early treatment.

These symptoms can be generalised i.e, those which occur in any infection with/without signs infection of the umbilical cord stump or localised i.e, those which occur around the umbilicus.

Caring For Your Newborns Umbilical Cord

Newborn umbilical cord care is one of the most important tasks you must learn once you bring your baby home. If youre a new or expecting parent, knowing how to keep a babys umbilical cord clean and free from infection is a very valuable skill in keeping them healthy during the first few days of their life.

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What Is The Umbilical Cord

The umbilical cord is the lifeline between you and your baby during pregnancy. The cord allows oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to flow to your baby. The cord also carries away the babys waste products. The umbilical cord connects your baby to your placenta and contains two arteries and one vein. After your baby is born, they don’t need the umbilical cord any longer. Your provider will cut the umbilical cord, leaving a short piece of it, called a stump, attached to your babys belly button. The stump will naturally dry up and fall off within a few weeks after birth.

Infected Umbilical Cord: When To Call The Doctor

Baby Umbilical Cord Care

Sometimes when the stump falls off, baby will be left with a red mass called an umbilical cord granuloma. The mass may be moist or inflamed, but its not an emergency and can be taken care of easily. If your baby has a granuloma, dont put him in bath water. Call your pediatrician right away.

If you notice signs of infection, call your pediatrician ASAP.

Symptoms of infection may include:

  • Fever
  • Red, swollen, and warm cord stump and surrounding skin
  • Yellow or green pus

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What Are The Signs Of Infection

Signs of infection may include if the cord:

  • The base appears red or swollen
  • Continues to bleed
  • Oozes yellowish or white pus
  • Produces a foul-smelling discharge
  • Seems painful to your baby

Signs of infection of the umbilical cord stump can result in omphalitis . This is considered a serious condition and needs to be treated immediately.

What Are Signs That There May Be A Problem

Most umbilical cord stumps fall off on their own without any problems. Rarely, a stump can become infected or fails to fall off on its own. Here are some reasons you should contact your babys doctor:

  • Signs of infection, including redness around the base of the stump or foul-smelling discharge
  • Your baby cries when that area is touched
  • The area continues to bleed after the cord falls off
  • The stump hasnt fallen off after three or four weeks

If you have questions or concerns, dont hesitate to reach out to your Methodist Physicians Clinic pediatrician.

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How Long Does It Take For The Belly Button To Heal After The Umbilical Cord Falls Off

The skin underneath the stump may be a little red when the dried stump first falls off, but it should soon healâusually within two weeks. Speak to your healthcare provider if it doesnât heal in this timeframe.

Within a few weeks after your baby is born, what remains of the umbilical cord will fall off to reveal your babyâs cute little belly button. Itâs a reminder of how far your little oneâs come in just a short time.As you go about carefully changing your newbornâs diapers, know that you could be getting gifts and discounts for all that youâre doing. Download the Pampers Club app to get started.

Best Time Of Day For A Bath

How to care for a newborn’s umbilical cord

Similar to the question of how often to bathe your baby, what time of day to bathe your baby is really up to you!

Many families adopt the bath before bed routine, as baths can help your child relax before bedtime, and can become part of a routine that signals to them that sleep is coming.

Evening is also when parents usually have the time to dedicate to bathing their baby. However, if you prefer bathing your baby in the morning or during the day, thats perfectly OK.

When considering what time of day to bathe your baby, also consider when you are going to be most alert. Bathing babies, and especially newborns, takes good hand-eye coordination, patience, and must involve vigilance on the part of the parent.

If you think you will be distracted with other responsibilities, or with your other children, choose another time to bathe your baby.

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What Is The Umbilical Cord Stump And When Will It Fall Off

The umbilical cord delivered nutrients and oxygen to your baby in the uterus. Soon after your baby is born the cord is clamped and cut. Your baby wouldnât feel this as the umbilical cord has no nerves in it.

The clamp is usually kept in place for 24 to 48 hours. It is removed once what remains of the cord has dried and no longer bleeds.

Once the clamp is removed, what will remain on your little oneâs belly is a little stump. As the umbilical cord stump dries, shrivels, and hardens, it will go from a yellow color to a brownish black.

The umbilical cord stump usually falls off within a few weeks of your babyâs birth. Contact your babyâs healthcare provider if it hasn’t fallen off by the time your little one is 2 months old.

In some cases, there may be an underlying cause for the umbilical cord stump not falling off, such as an infection or an immune system disorder, which your provider will investigate.

After the stump falls off, the skin underneath should be healed. Sometimes, the skin may be a little raw, and a little fluid may seep out. Continue to keep your little oneâs belly button dry and clean and it should soon heal completely. Contact your healthcare provider if it hasnât healed within two weeks of the stump falling off.

How Long Will It Take For The Umbilical Cord Stump To Fall Off

The stump usually falls off in the first week or two after your baby is born. During the first couple of days, the stump looks yellow and wet. As it dries out, the color changes to brown or black and it will shrivel up. This part sometimes freaks new parents out, but it’s just part of the process!

When the stump falls off, you may notice a little bit of blood or fluid, which is almost always normal. It may take a few more days for the area to completely dry out.

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