Umbilical Cord Care

Umbilical Cord Care

One of the most frequently asked about areas of a newborn is the umbilical cord. When a baby is born, the cord is clamped and cut. Immediately, the baby’s circulation begins to change, and blood is no longer circulated through the umbilical cord. The cord will begin to dry up. As the baby progresses, the cord will begin to pull away from the body. This usually occurs at 1-3 weeks. When you notice the cord coming loose, do not pull at the cord as you may cause damage to the baby. During this time of cord separation, you should use alcohol swabs on the dry base of the umbilical cord to help prevent infection as well as to help dry out the stump.

Once the cord has come completely off, you may notice a small amount of bloody or even clear to slightly yellow dischage. If the drainage lasts for more than 2-3 days, if there is thick yellow or foul smelling discharge, if there is any redness of the skin around the cord, or if your baby develops a fever, notify us immediately. This could be a sign of a serious infection. If your baby’s cord has not fallen off by four weeks of age, please let us know.

Until the cord has fallen off, do not give your baby any baths in a bathtub where his belly will be submersed under water. This excessive moisture to the cord can delay cord separation and can lead to infection. Once the cord falls off, if you notice a persistant yellow, wet base to the belly button or a round flesh-like nodule of tissue in the belly button, please schedule a visit with us so that we may take a look and assure that nothing needs to be done.