Dearborn Pediatrics
Cord Care

Cord Care

Your baby’s umbilical cord normally does not need any treatment and will normally fall off between 1 and 3 weeks.
The cord needs to dry before it will fall off.
Only give sponge baths to your newborn until the cord falls off.
Cords can also hang by a strand of tissue for 2-3 days.
You will need to check the skin around the base of the cord at least once a day. If the area is dry and clean no treatment is necessary.
Getting some poop on the cord is not serious but you will need to clean it gently with soap and water. That should prevent any infections.
When the cord has fallen off, the belly button may ooze secretions for several days. Normal secretions are clear or slightly blood tinged.
If you notice any secretions or need to clean around the cord use a cotton swab wet with water and gently clean the area & dry the area carefully.

You may need to push down on the skin around the cord to get at this area and you may need to bend the cord a little to get underneath it. Do NOT use alcohol or any other germ killer on the cord.

It is normal for the center to look red at the point of separation and to ooze some secretions for several days.

Normal secretions are clear or slightly blood tinged. Sometimes the navel will form a scab.  Let it heal up and fall off on its own. It is NOT normal if the redness spreads to the belly.

Home treatment should clear up any cloudy discharge in a day or so. Sometimes the navel will form a scab.  Let it heal up and fall off on its own. It is NOT normal if the redness spreads to the belly.

Call the office if…

You notice a red area spreading beyond the navel.

You notice a bad smelling or draining cord.

You notice a spot of blood greater than 2 inches from the navel.

Routine Navel (Belly Button) Care
Keep the belly button clean and dry.
To provide air contact, keep the diaper folded down below the navel.
Clean the area once per day with warm water and a clean cloth.
Remove any dried or sticky secretions.
A few drops of blood at the point of separation of the cord is normal and common.
Caution: Do NOT use rubbing alcohol.
Tub baths are allowed only when no drainage is noted from navel area.