Skip to Content
Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Umbilical Cord Care
umbilical cord is cut at birth, a stump of tissue
remains attached to your baby's belly button (navel). The stump gradually dries
and shrivels until it falls off, usually 1 to 2 weeks after birth. It
is important that you keep the umbilical cord stump and surrounding skin clean
and dry. This basic care helps prevent infection. It may also help the
umbilical cord stump to fall off and the navel to heal more quickly.
Gently clean your baby's umbilical cord
stump and the surrounding skin at least once a day and as needed during diaper
changes or baths.
The stump usually falls off in 1 or 2 weeks, but
sometimes it takes longer. Continue to clean around the navel at least once a
day until the navel has completely healed.
You can help your baby's
umbilical cord stump fall off and heal faster by keeping it dry between
Call your baby's doctor if
you see any signs of an infection. These signs include:
Also call your baby's doctor if you notice any other
problems with the umbilical cord area, such as:
Other Works Consulted
Burgos AE (2011). Postnatal care and observation. In CD Rudolph et al., eds., Rudolph's Pediatrics, 22nd ed., pp. 184–189. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Hagan JF, et al., eds. (2008). Health supervision: Newborn visit. In Bright Futures: Guidelines for Health Supervision of Infants, Children, and Adolescents, 3rd ed., pp. 271–288. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.
Zupan J, et al. (2004). Topical umbilical cord care at birth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (3).
January 10, 2013
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics & John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
Send Us Your Feedback
North Kansas City Hospital.