Caring For Your Baby's Umbilical Cord

Based on content from the baby care experts at JOHNSON'S®.

Your newborn's umbilical-cord area requires special care until it heals. Don't be afraid to clean your baby's cord: the quicker the base dries, the sooner the cord will fall off. You should clean the area each time 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.

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 cut-out space for the cord. The cord area should heal in about seven to ten days.

Warning Signs

Call your baby's pediatric caregiver 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 is normal for a few drops of blood to appear when the stump separates.