Toddlers > Newborn: how to care for the umbilical cord

So if you’re going to be a mom soon or have a newborn baby, hydrogen peroxide, neutral soap and a gauze dryer is enough to clean the umbilical cord until it falls off.

Aug 22, 2019

One of the things that scares dads the most, especially if it’s their first child, is how to care for the umbilical cord. 


Immediately after birth, the doctor or midwife cut the cord that joined him with the placenta with sterile material and placed a plastic clamp to prevent blood. Normally, this small appendix will be attached to the baby’s navel for a couple of weeks, although there is no fixed time for it to detach. By some children, it falls after five days and by others, it takes longer. However, if your child still has the cord after four weeks, we recommend that you consult your pediatrician for an examination. 


However, during the days when the umbilical cord remains on the child, it is necessary to dedicate some specific care, as the usual germs in the skin may infect the cord that is still unhealed. To avoid this, hygiene is essential. And it is precisely the moment to clean the navel, one of the most delicate and that causes the greatest uneasiness in the parents. 


To help you, today we are going to share with you some tips that you should consider when taking care of the navel during these first days of life. You will see that in a few days the stump will have come off and you will be able to keep the clamp as a souvenir. 


This is how to clean the umbilical cord

Before you leave the hospital, midwives and nurses will give you some basic baby care advice, especially during the first few days and many of them related to umbilical cord care. You’ll see that his recommendation is as follows:

  • Wash your hands before cleaning the cord.
  • Clean the cord area with warm water and neutral soap. And then dry it very well.
  • You can help keep the cord dry with a clean, dry gauze wrap, replacing the gauze with diaper changes.
  • It is important that the area is as clean as possible at all times. To do this, change diapers frequently.

Before becoming a mother, you must have heard that the umbilical cord had to be cured with antiseptic products, such as alcohol. And you’re not misguided, decades ago. However, recent studies contravene that practice and endorse that the use of antiseptics and local or topical antibiotics can delay the fall of the cord because it interferes with the normal healing process.

So if you’re going to be a mom soon or have a newborn baby, hydrogen peroxide, neutral soap and a gauze dryer is enough to clean the umbilical cord until it falls off.

Alarm Signs

Logically, these chemicals should be used if the area is infected, but in that case it will have to be the pediatrician who tells you what to do.

However, it is important to see your doctor if you notice one or more of these symptoms: 

  • If there is some redness or swelling in the navel area.
  • If you see that the cord secretes a certain yellow liquid with a bad smell.
  • And of course, if it bleeds. Sometimes, small normal bleeding can occur with the fall of the umbilical cord or the rubbing of the same with the diaper. But when in doubt, consult your pediatrician.
  • As we have seen before, if the cord does not fall off after one month from birth, it is more than justified to go to the doctor.