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Learn how to care for your newborn's umbilical-cord area until it heals.

Don't be afraid to clean your baby's umbilical cord: the quicker the base dries, the sooner the cord will fall off. You should clean the area each time you change your baby's nappy. To clean the cord safely, take a cotton swab, cotton square or cotton round and clean around the base of the cord.

Remember to avoid covering the cord with the nappy, because the cord area should be kept dry and clean at all times. If the nappy is too high, fold it down on your baby before securing. You can also buy special newborn nappies that have a space cut out for the cord. The cord area should heal in about 7 to 10 days.

Warning Signs

Call your baby’s paediatrician if you notice that the umbilical cord stump:

  • is soft
  • has a strong odour
  • is streaked with red around the navel, or is discharging fluid

It’s normal for a few drops of blood to appear when the stump separates.

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