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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 30reviewers.
    Rated 0 out of 5 by I am not sure why not being able to get an xr-ay is a benefit. X-rays are a vital diagnostic tool use in all manners of the medical profession and especially important for early detection of dental decay. Why would someone feel happy about not being able to receive the benefits of this modern medical tool? July 8, 2014
    Rated 0 out of 5 by The nurses told me not to put anything on the cord. My daughter's fell off and was healed by her 10 day appointment. June 4, 2014
    Rated 0 out of 5 by i used alcohol on my babies cord. Her cord dried funny and i had to raise it to get alcohol around it. it was a really weird situation. her shirts kept getting caught on it causing her to get irritated and bleed! i was so happy when it finally fell off!! March 18, 2014
    Rated 0 out of 5 by My mother told me that I should use rubbing alcohol to make it dry faster, and I think I'm gonna try it! I didn't even think about the umbilical cord to be honest until my midwife told me to only bring a NB t-shirt and diapers for the baby to wear when he is born so it doesn't mess with the cord! So I found some cute baby shirts and am just gonna let it dry out the best I can. March 12, 2014
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