21/01/2016 11:01 GMT | Updated 21/01/2016 11:59 GMT

Baby's Umbilical Cord Stump Care: Midwife's Advice On Dos And Don'ts For Parents Of Newborns

How to look after a newborn baby’s umbilical stump is something many parents seek advice on.

After giving birth, the midwife will clamp the umbilical cord - which is made up of blood vessels - leaving a small stump on the baby's belly button.

Midwife Suzanne Barber said the cord will usually completely fall off by itself within five to 15 days.

baby umbilical stump

Barber said: "You will find after five days, the cord will change in appearance going almost black in colour, hard and dry.

"It's important not to speed up the process of it falling off and not to fiddle, cut or pull it."

Barber said once the cord has dried off naturally, that's when it will fall off.

baby umbilical stump

Cleaning the stump is very important.

"You may find it easier to sponge bath your baby while it's still on," Barber explained.

"Make sure it is kept clean and the majority of the time it will heal well."

Some newborns may experience problems with the umbilical cord stump. Barber said it's important for parents to look out for signs of infection around its base.

You should contact your GP if you see the following:

  • Any infection around the base of the stump
  • Skin becoming inflamed or reddened
  • A foul smell being emitted from the area.

For more detailed information on caring for your newborn's umbilical cord stump, watch the video above.


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