2:19 min| 461,483 views
For the first few weeks of your baby's life, you'll need to keep the umbilical stump clean and dry.
Narrator: When the umbilical cord is cut at birth, what's left behind is an umbilical stump.
You'll need to take care of your newborn's stump while it heals. After about 1 to 3 weeks, the stump will dry up and drop off.
Midwife Miriam Maldonado teaches new parents how to take care of their baby's umbilical stump.
Mainly you'll need to keep it clean and dry.
Before your baby's cord was cut, the doctor or midwife placed a clamp on it.
One type of clamp looks like this. It'll be removed before your baby leaves the hospital, leaving the stump looking like this.
Another type of clamp looks like this. It's a rubber band that stays attached until the stump falls off.
To take care of the umbilical stump, the most important thing is to keep it clean and dry.
Other than that, leave it alone and let it fall off on its own.
Keep the diaper from touching the stump, so it doesn't get wet, dirty, or irritated.
You can fold the upper edge of the diaper down or use diapers that have a cutout.
Dress your baby in loose clothing to help air circulate so the stump can dry out. If it's warm, you can use just a diaper and a T-shirt, if you like.
Give your baby sponge baths instead of tub baths until the stump has fallen off, to keep it dry.
If the stump area becomes dirty or sticky, wet a cotton swab or a washcloth in plain lukewarm water, dab the area surrounding the stump, and let it air dry.
Call your baby's doctor if the skin around the base of the stump is red, the stump smells bad, you notice yellowish fluid leaking out, or the stump doesn't fall off on its own within the first month.
The umbilical stump should fall off when it's totally dry.
Don't attempt to pull off the stump, even if it looks like it's hanging by a thread.
Some small pieces of stump may still be attached to the belly button after it falls off – or you may see some lint from clothes or diapers.
Don't pull this off. It will fall off on its own, leaving behind a beautiful belly button.