Keep the stump dryThe umbilical stump will heal substantially quicker if it is kept dry. To ensure this, fold diapers down to avoid contact with urine, or use newborn diapers that have specially designed cut-outs for the umbilical cord. Change soiled diapers frequently. As well, avoid getting the stump wet in a bath. You can sufficiently clean your baby with sponge baths until after it has fallen off.
Keep the stump cleanThere is no need to clean the stump with every diaper change, but it is important to clean it if it becomes dirty or crusty to prevent infection. Simply use a little soap and water with a soft washcloth. Make sure to thoroughly dry the area after cleaning.
Watch for signs of infectionThough very rare, the stump can become infected. Call your baby's doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Increased redness or swelling around the stump
- Bleeding from the stump
- A foul-smelling discharge
Don't try to remove stump
Even though you might think that the stump is unsightly, don't be tempted to pull it off. It will fall off on its own.