How To Care For Your Baby's Umbilical Stump - MumsVillage

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Pregnancy & Parenting

How To Care For Your Baby’s Umbilical Stump

This is an area where most new mums don’t know what to do and how to navigate caring, cleaning and handling the baby’s umbilical cord. If you are a new mum reading this, you can always ask the doctor, nurse, obstetrician, Douala or whoever is helping you with your pregnancy on best umbilical cord practices.


The umbilical cord, serves as a connection between the mum and the baby while supplying oxygen and nutrients to the unborn child. After the baby is born, the cord is cut, clumped with a ligature or a plastic cord to prevent bleeding. You as a mum need to take care of the clumped part until it dries and falls off.


In case you are wondering, cutting and clumping is not painful as the umbilical cord  has no nerves. So care for the stump well in the first 24 hours, ensure there’s no bleeding and the stump will dry up in 7 to 21 days then take some more days to heal. During the healing process the stump will change colour from a white appearance to yellow then brown or black before falling off.


Caring For The Umbilical Stump

  • Keep The Stump Dry

Cleaning the baby can prove to be a hard task. You are worried that the water will affect the ligature and consequently the healing of the stump. Use sponge baths and let the stump air dry and use alcohol swabs to clean the stump after diaper changes.


  • Let The Stump Fall on It’s Own and Don’t Cover It Up With Diapers

Covering it with diapers hinders the drying and healing of the umbilical stump. You want to keep the area aerated, drying and free from diaper irritation and tugging. Fold the edge of the diaper facing downwards if you have to.


  • Keep It Clean

Always wash your hands before handling the baby’s umbilical cord. If the stump gets soiled, be sure to clean it to avoid entry of disease causing microorganisms.


Look Out For:

  • Pus oozing out of the umbilical cord accompanied by bad odour.
  • Redness and irritation on the surrounding area and the base of the stump.
  • Tenderness on the area where the baby responds to touch with irritation.
  • Cord not falling off after 3 weeks.


If you notice any of these signs, raise them to your doctor or schedule a doctor’s appointment.

Click here to read more about caring for a baby’s belly button. 

This video shows how to clean a umbilical cord and baby tummy time.



This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered as Medical or Obstetric Advice. Consult an Obstetrician before making any obstetric decision.


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