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Don't be afraid to clean your baby's umbilical cord: the quicker the base dries, the sooner the cord will fall off. Be sure that you have washed your hands before handling the cord. If the umbilical cord becomes soiled with urine or feces, you should clean the area when you change your baby’s diaper. To clean the cord safely, take a cotton swab, cotton square or cotton round and clean around the base of the cord with clean water.

Remember to avoid covering the cord with the diaper, because the cord area should be kept dry and clean at all times. If the diaper is too high, fold it down on your baby before securing. You can also buy special newborn diapers that have a space cut-out for the cord. The umbilical cord area should heal in about 7 to 10 days.

Watch this video to learn the basics of proper umbilical cord care.

Warning Signs

Call your baby’s healthcare provider if you notice that the umbilical cord stump:

  • is soft
  • has a strong odor
  • is streaked with red around the navel, or is discharging fluid

It’s normal for a few drops of blood to appear when the stump separates.

Umbilical Cord Care

Learn how to care for this delicate area.

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Innie or Outie?

Your baby is unique — and so is his belly button! Visit BabyCenter® to learn what causes an innie or an outie.

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