Umbilical cord care
How to take care of your baby's umbilical cord
Your baby's physician will give you instructions on how to keep the cord clean. Alcohol is often used at each diaper change. Some physicians recommend using plain water, or just allowing it to air dry.
Keep the cord on the outside of the baby's diaper. Some newborn-size diapers have special cut-outs for the cord area, but you can also fold down the top edge of the diaper. Call your baby's physician if there is:
- bleeding from the end of the cord or the area near the skin
- pus (a yellow or white discharge)
- swelling or redness around the navel
- signs that the navel area is painful to your baby
There may be a small amount of blood after the cord falls off, but this should stop quickly. Never try to pull the cord off.
Parents are often concerned about a baby's navel being an "innie" or an "outie." There is no way to predict this or make the navel look one way or another. Contrary to popular traditions, taping a coin or other flat object over the navel doesn’t help. It is common for some babies to have a small protrusion of their abdomen around the navel, especially when crying. This is part of the baby's development and usually goes away on its own.
Some babies may have a weakness in the abdominal muscles called an umbilical hernia. This can be checked by your baby's physician to see if treatment is necessary.