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Health Tip: Caring for a Newborn's Umbilical Cord

- Once a newborn's umbilical cord is cut just after birth, the remaining piece needs proper care to prevent infection.

The American Pregnancy Association offers these suggestions:

  • Keep the area around the cord clean. Ask your doctor what is recommended -- perhaps cleaning regularly with rubbing alcohol, or just water and a gentle cleanser.
  • Make sure the cord area stays dry. Use a newborn diaper with an area cut out to expose the cord. Also, let your baby wear a short t-shirt and a diaper when possible to help air get to the area.
  • Don't give your baby a full, submerged bath -- just a sponge bath -- until after the cord has fallen off.
  • Never pick or pull at the remaining cord, but let it fall off on its own.
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Posted: February 2008