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How to care for your baby's umbilical cord
Jennifer Shu, MD posted:
Depending on what your baby's doctor recommends, you may have been advised to wipe the umbilical cord stump with rubbing alcohol or soap and water daily (or even at every diaper change), a special antiseptic dye may have been applied after birth, or you could just leave it alone and let it dry and fall off on its own. While the different recommendations may be confusing, most babies in the U.S. do just fine no matter which method you choose because the cord is clamped and cut in a clean manner during the delivery, and babies generally return home to a fairly clean environment.

It may be helpful to fold down the front of your baby's diaper or use diapers with special cut-outs to avoid irritating the umbilical cord until it falls off, usually within 1 to 3 weeks. Sponge-bathing rather than putting baby in a tub is typically recommended until then as well.

If your baby develops any sign of an umbilical cord infection--red skin around the belly button, pus coming from around the cord, or fever, for example--be sure to contact your doctor right away.
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