The Umbilical Cord and How to Care For It

The umbilical cord…that magical cord that kept your baby nourished and growing during pregnancy is now cut after delivery and the stump has a yellow or white plastic clamp attached (seriously, looks like a chip clip right??)

The new guidelines state that we do not cut off the clamp, but rather allow it to fall off naturally as the stump dries completely and falls off. 

It is important to keep the umbilical cord stump and the surrounding skin clean and dry to prevent infection. 

Some key points to remember:

  • Practice good hand hygiene before touching the cord
  • Use a wet q-tip to gently wipe around the cord and then dry it afterwards 
  • Let the cord be exposed to air- do not cover with a bandage or diaper (fold the top of diaper down if needed before fastening to allow the cord to be exposed to air)
  • Be careful the clamp doesn’t get caught on clothing or blankets etc that could cause unnecessary trauma 
  • Baths are certainly okay! Just ensure cord area is dry when you dress your baby afterwards

Some drainage around the cord area or bleeding is normal. However, take your baby in ASAP if the cord drainage has a foul smell, a lot of blood, is warm/red/swollen, your baby has a fever, the cord is draining a lot, or of course, if your instinct is that it doesn’t look right. Trust your instincts!


Any questions? Reach out to a Mama Coach near you! We would be happy to help. 

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