Keep the umbilical cord stump clean and dry to prevent infection. Always wash your hands before handling your baby’s cord stump, before and after every diaper change and other care. Avoid contact with urine and feces on the cord stump by folding the diaper down away from it, leaving the stump exposed. Should urine or feces accidentally rest the stump, wash it off using clean water and mild soap.
DID YOU KNOW? Studies of the healing process of the umbilical cord have found no advantage to using antiseptics over simply keeping the cord clean, unless the baby is premature or in intensive care. Antiseptics also cause the cord to take longer to fall off.
Call the doctor when: The navel and the surrounding area become swollen or red.
The cord stump becomes swollen or smelly. It is normal for the cord stump to look a bit “mucky,” or appear to have pus at the base; this dries up and heals but does not necessarily mean that it is infected.