Umbilical Cord Symptoms

Disponible En Espanol


Care at Home

  • WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: * Normal cords don't need any special treatment. * Just keep them dry (called dry cord care or natural drying). * Reason: Cords need to dry up, before they will fall off. * As they dry up, cords normally change color. They go from a shiny yellowish hue, to brown or gray. * The cord will normally fall off between 1 and 3 weeks. * Here is some care advice that should help.
  • DIAPERS: * Keep the area dry to help healing. * To provide air contact, keep the diaper folded down below the cord. * Another option for disposable diapers is to cut off a wedge with a scissors. Then seal the edge with tape.
  • BATHING: * Keep the cord dry. Avoid tub baths. * Use sponge baths until the cord falls off.
  • POOP ON CORD: * Getting some poop on the cord or navel is not serious. * If it occurs, clean the area with soap and water. * This should prevent any infections.
  • CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF: * Develops a red streak or redness around belly button * Fever occurs * Your baby starts to look or act abnormal
  • WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: * The belly button will ooze secretions for several days. * Normal secretions are clear or blood tinged mucus. * A cloudy discharge is usually a mild infection. * This can be from normal skin bacteria. * A small amount of pus may be present. * Here is some care advice that should help.
  • CLEAN THE NAVEL: * Clean the navel (belly button) 2 times a day. * Use a wet cotton swab or cloth. * Clean away any dried secretions or pus. * Do this gently to prevent any bleeding. * Caution: Don't use any rubbing alcohol. Reason: Can interfere with healing.
  • DIAPERS: * Keep the belly button dry to help healing. * To provide air contact, keep the diaper folded down. Keep it below the cord and belly button.
  • BATHING: * Do not use tub baths until the cord falls off. The navel should be well healed.
  • CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF: * Develops a red streak or redness around the belly button * Fever occurs * Cloudy discharge not gone after 3 days of using this care advice * Your baby starts to look or act abnormal
  • ANTIBIOTIC OINTMENT: * If any pus is present, use an antibiotic ointment such as Polysporin. * No prescription is needed. * Put a thin layer on the navel. * Do this 2 times per day after the area has been cleaned. * Do this for 2 days. After that, use the antibiotic ointment only if you see more pus.
  • WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: * A few drops of blood are normal when the cord falls off or catches on something. * The diaper rubbing against the belly button may make it start up again. * Here is some care advice that should help.
  • BLEEDING: * To stop bleeding, put direct pressure on the navel for 10 minutes. Use a clean cloth. * Clean the area beforehand, rather than afterwards. * Reason: This helps prevent bleeding from starting back up.
  • DIAPER: * Prevent the diaper from rubbing on the belly button. * Do this by folding the diaper down away from the belly button. * You can also cut a wedge out of the diaper.
  • CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF: * Bleeding gets worse * Few drops of blood lasts more than 3 days * Your baby starts to look or act abnormal
  • WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: * The cord can't fall off too early. * The average cord falls off between 10 and 14 days. Normal range is 7 to 21 days. Even if it falls off before 7 days, you can follow this advice. * After the cord has fallen off, the navel will gradually heal. * It's normal for the center to look red at the point of separation. * It's not normal if the redness spreads on to the belly. * It's normal for the navel to ooze some secretions. * Sometimes the navel forms a scab. Let it heal up and fall off on its own. * The navel has a small risk of becoming infected. * Here is some care advice that should help.
  • NORMAL NAVEL CARE: * Keep the navel (belly button) clean and dry. * Clean the area once per day with warm water and a clean cloth. * Remove any dried or sticky secretions. * Do this gently to prevent any bleeding. * Caution: Don't use any rubbing alcohol. Reason: can interfere with healing.
  • DIAPERS: * Keep the navel dry to help healing. * To provide air contact, keep the diaper folded down below the navel.
  • BATHING: * After the cord falls off, continue sponge baths for a few more days. * Help the belly button area dry up. * Then, tub baths will be fine.
  • CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF: * Develops a red streak or redness around belly button * Fever occurs * Cloudy discharge occurs * Your baby starts to look or act abnormal
  • WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: * Most cords fall off between 10 and 14 days. Normal range is 7 to 21 days. * All cords slowly fall off on their own. * Continue to be patient. * Here is some care advice that should help.
  • STOP ALCOHOL: * If you have been using rubbing alcohol to the cord, stop doing so. * Rubbing alcohol can kill the good bacteria that help the cord fall off.
  • DIAPER: * Help the cord dry up faster by keeping the diaper folded below it. * Another approach is to cut out a wedge of the diaper (if disposable) . * Air contact helps the cord stay dry.
  • CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF: * Cord starts to look infected * Fever occurs * Cord is still on for more than 6 weeks * Your baby starts to look sick or act abnormal
  • WHAT TO EXPECT: * With treatment, the cloudy discharge and pus should be gone in 2 to 3 days. * The navel should become dry and healed by 7 days.
  • WHAT TO EXPECT: * The bleeding may come back a few times. * It should only be a small smear of blood. * The bleeding site should heal up by 2 days.
  • NORMAL DRY CORD CARE: * Clean the skin around the base of the cord. Do it once a day. * Use a wet cotton swab or cloth. Clean away any dried secretions. Then dry carefully. * You will need to push down on the skin around the cord to get at this area. You may also need to bend the cord a little to get underneath it. * Caution: Don't put alcohol or other germ killer on the cord. Reason: Dry cords fall off sooner. (Exception: instructed by your doctor to use alcohol).
  • WHAT TO EXPECT: The belly button should be healed and dry by 7 days.

Disclaimer

The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in these topics is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.

  • Not a Substitute - The information and materials in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker should not be used as a substitute for the care and knowledge that your physician can provide to you.
  • Supplement - The information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker are meant to supplement the information that you obtain from your physician. If there is a disagreement between the information presented herein and what your physician has told you -- it is more likely that your physician is correct. He or she has the benefit of knowing your child's medical problems.
  • Limitations - You should recognize that the information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker have the following limitations, in comparison to being examined by your own physician:
    • You can have a conversation with your child's doctor.
    • Your child's doctor can perform a physical examination and any necessary tests.
    • Your child could have an underlying medical problem that requires a physician to detect.
    • If your child is taking medications, they could influence how he experiences various symptoms.

If you think that your child is having a medical emergency, call 911 or the number for the local emergency ambulance service NOW!

And when in doubt, call your child's doctor NOW or go to the closest emergency department.

The search for nearby emergency and urgent care facilities is based upon Google search parameters. You will get results based on how facilities manage their website information.

By using this website, you accept the information provided herein "AS IS." Neither publishers nor the providers of the information contained herein will have any liability to you arising out of your use of the information contained herein or make any expressed or implied warranty regarding the accuracy, content, completeness, reliability, or efficacy of the information contained within this website.