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Umbilical Cord Care

Once the Umbilical Cord Stump Falls Off

Once the stump falls off, the area should look a little pink, like a tiny little skin wound. Again, keep this area clean and dry, and new healthy skin will grow over it. As soon as you can see that the area no longer has any open portions, you can go ahead and give your baby his or her first bath -- don't forget the camera!

When to Be Concerned

Some of the uncommon problems that can occur before the umbilical cord falls off are infection and bleeding.
  • Infection: There is usually a little yellow "ooze" that appears over the week. As long as the skin does not look red and infected, the light-yellow fluid is natural and normal. If the fluid smells foul and/or the fluid is greenish, those are signs of an infection.
  • Bleeding: A little bit of dried blood on the undershirt or top of the diaper is fine. If red blood appears consistently, it is a sign that the wound is not doing well. Active bleeding can also occur if the cord is pulled off too soon.
Call your healthcare provider immediately if you believe the cord has become infected or is bleeding.
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