How can I take care of the umbilical cord?

How can I clean my baby’s umbilical cord?

Before cleaning the umbilical cord, you should clean your hands first. Prepare some clean cotton buds. Use cool boiled-water or 70-75% alcohol, as recommended by the hospital where your baby was delivered. First, use a cotton bud soaked with either cool boiled-water or alcohol to clean the base of the umbilical cord, that is, the connection between the cord and the abdominal wall. Use a new cotton bud for each swabbing. Repeat the swabbing until the bottom of the cord is thoroughly clean. Finally, swab and clean the cord stump. Remember, clean the cord gently to avoid bleeding.

Why is there some blood coming out from the umbilical cord?

You may notice a few drops of blood on the nappy around the time the stump falls off, it is normal. Continue to clean the cord using the method just described. The cord will usually dry up and the oozing will stop after a few days.

When will my baby’s umbilical cord fall off?

In general, the umbilical cord separates between 5 to 10 days after birth but it varies among different babies. In some babies, it may take up to 3 weeks or longer for the cord to separate. If your baby’s cord has not yet come off by 1 month old, you should consult your doctor.

Do I need to apply anything to the umbilical cord?

The umbilical cord will come off by itself. You do not need to apply any dressing or medications such as oil, ointment, cord-powder or band-aid on it. If you want the cord to separate more quickly, the most important thing is to keep the cord clean and dry. Do not wrap the nappy too tight. Try to keep the nappy underneath the cord to prevent it from rubbing the cord and bleeding.

Under what situations should I bring the baby to visit a doctor?

Please bring your baby to visit a doctor if you notice signs suggestive of infection, such as having red skin around the base of the cord, foul smelling discharge, collection of pus, presence of a persistent bulging lump at the umbilicus after the cord has fallen off.

If there is severe bleeding from the cord, please bring your baby to the Accident and Emergency Department so the medical staff can help stop the bleeding early and manage accordingly.