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Cord Care

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 7, 2024.

What is cord care?

Cord care is how to care for your baby's umbilical cord stump. Before your baby is born, the umbilical cord brings nutrition and oxygen to him or her and removes waste. After birth, your baby does not need the umbilical cord anymore. Healthcare providers cut off all but a small part (stump) of the umbilical cord. The stump dries and falls off in about 7 to 21 days, leaving a belly button.

What do I need to know about my baby's cord stump?

Your baby's cord will feel cool and look blue-white right after he or she is born. After it is clamped, it will start to dry and turn yellow-brown. It will become hard, and there may be some sticky wetness at the bottom of the stump. The stump will soon dry out, turn black, and fall off. It is normal for the stump to stay on longer if your baby was premature. You may also see a few drops of blood around the stump as it begins to fall off.

Umbilical Cord Healing

Why is cord care important?

Cord care helps prevent infection around your baby's cord stump. Very rarely, these infections can enter your baby's body and cause severe or even life-threatening disease.

How do I care for my baby's cord?

Umbilical Cord Care

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my baby's doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your baby's care. Learn about your baby's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your baby's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your baby. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.