Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up
How to care for your baby's umbilical cord
avatar
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.
Was this Helpful?
9 of 18 found this helpful
Reply


Featuring Experts

Dr. Dan Brennan is a Board Certified Pediatrician and Certified Lactation Counselor. He is a graduate of UCLA, Albany Medical College and completed ...More

Helpful Tips

The What, When, How, and Why of Babies Sleeping Through the NightExpert
I absolutely love the discussions in this newborn community! I have noticed lots of discussions lately about sleep issues in babies that ... More
Was this Helpful?
18 of 24 found this helpful

Report Problems to the
Food and Drug Administration

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.