How to Care for Your Baby’s Umbilical Cord

How to Care for Your Baby’s Umbilical Cord

Before a baby is born, he or she receives all of their nourishment and food through the placenta, which is connected to your baby by their umbilical cord. When your baby is born, the umbilical cord is clamped and cut off, leaving a small stump behind. Until the umbilical cord stump falls off, there are certain steps that you, as a parent, must take when caring for your baby’s umbilical cord.

  1. Do not bathe your baby in a sink or baby tub until the stump falls off. You can give your baby a sponge bath when needed, but make sure to avoid getting water on the umbilical cord. It must be kept dry at all times. You can, however, swab the area around the stump with an alcohol swab. If you’d prefer to use something different and less harsh, Goldenseal Root and Echinacea are two other safe options.
  2. Whenever you put a new diaper on your baby, make sure to fold the top of it down so it does not rub against your baby’s umbilical cord stump. If you’d prefer, you can also purchase newborn diapers, which are designed to fit around the umbilical cord.
  3. Dress your newborn in a loose-fitting t-shirt during warm weather. A loose shirt allows air to circulate, which can speed up the umbilical cord drying process.
  4. Whatever you do, do not try and remove the umbilical cord stump under any circumstances, even if it’s only hanging by a thread. Allow it to fall off on its own.

What should you do if your baby has an umbilical granuloma?

Once your baby’s umbilical cord stump falls off, usually somewhere around two weeks, you may notice a small bump of flesh remaining that oozes a yellowish-green discharge. This condition is known as “umbilical granuloma”.

Most of the time, granulomas will heal following repeated treatment with rubbing alcohol. On occasion, the granuloma may have to be cauterized with silver nitrate. But rest assured, if the lump needs to be cauterized, your baby will not feel it since there are no nerve endings in the umbilical cord.

Signs of concern:

You should call your healthcare provider if your baby’s umbilical cord exhibits any of the following signs:

  • A red and swollen cord base
  • A cord that keeps bleeding or oozes yellow or white pus
  • Cord discharge that smells
  • Soreness around the umbilical cord area