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Last updateTue, 28 Oct 2014 9pm

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Care of the Umbilical Cord

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The umbilical cord was vital to your baby’s survival when in the womb. But once your baby is born, the umbilical cord is no longer needed and will dry and eventually fall off
 
Normally, the cord falls off within two weeks after birth. Until then, all you need to do is keep the cord stump clean and out of the diaper. Fold the diaper down to expose the umbilical cord to allow it to dry and to prevent your baby from urinating on it. 
 
Cleaning the cord with rubbing alcohol or other topical agents was an old practice that is no longer recommended. Studies show that the application of such agents does not speed drying time or reduce infection rates and can be potentially dangerous. Like the old saying goes, "less is more".
 
Continue to inspect the cord’s condition with each diaper change and inform your baby’s healthcare provider if any of the following occur:
  • The umbilical cord looks infected. Signs of infection include fever, pus, foul odor, redness, and swelling).
  • If the cord does not fall off within 2 weeks of life.
  • Or if the cord site is not healed 2-3 days after cord has fall off.

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