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We cut the cord...so why is it still there?

What's the best way to care for a newborn's umbilical cord, and how long will it stay attached? One family physician offers her insights.
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The umbilical cord stump is normally about one to two inches long, depending on where it was clamped after delivery. It is a reminder as to where your infant was attached to you in the uterus.

Within one to three days after birth, it will turn from a fleshy whitish-pink to a smaller black stump. This stump will fall off between 10 days and 4 weeks after birth. However, while still attached it requires special care to keep it free from infection.

When diapering your newborn, fold the diaper down below the cord so that it remains exposed to air (this will hasten the drying process). Special diapers are sold with a cut-out for the cord, but folding a regular diaper below the cord works just as well. Each time you change your newborn's diaper, gently hold the end of the cord upward while taking a sterile cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol and clean the base of the cord (where it connects to her body). This will not only keep it free from infection but will help speed up the falling off process.

It is also important to keep the area dry, so only sponge bathe your newborn until the cord falls off, making sure to avoid the umbilical area. And lastly, if there is any foul-smelling odor, discharge, or redness in the area of the umbilical stump, call your baby's physician for further evaluation.

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  • Rated 0 out of 5 by 34reviewers.
    Rated 0 out of 5 by Help me understand why and what to do once it falls off. February 18, 2015
    Rated 0 out of 5 by I was hoping to find some information in this article about after the stump falls off. I've been finding blood on her belly button between diaper changes and wanted to make sure this was normal, and why it happens. December 29, 2014
    Rated 0 out of 5 by I am not a fan of my baby bumps I dont like the attention. I dont like strangers or people i know trying to touch me. September 21, 2014
    Rated 0 out of 5 by The World Health Organization recommends that you no longer use rubbing alcohol on your child's umbilical stump as it has been proven not to speed the drying process. September 18, 2014
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