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Proper care can help your baby’s umbilical cord heal. Do not pull or pick at the cord. It should fall off on its own within 2 weeks after the birth. Even after the cord falls off, keep cleaning your baby’s bellybutton for about a week. Use the steps below as a guide.
To help prevent infection and keep the cord dry:
Keep the cord open to the air.
Fold down the top edge of the diaper. This way the diaper will not cover or rub against the cord.
Avoid clothing that constricts the cord.
Do not place the baby in bath water until the cord has fallen off. Until your baby’s umbilical cord falls off, give sponge baths every 2 or 3 days.
Do not manually pull off the cord.
Redness or swelling around the cord
Discharge or bad odor coming from the cord
The cord doesn’t fall off by 3 weeks after the birth
Your baby has a rectal temperature of 100.4°F (38.0°C) or higher
The cord stays moist after 2 to 3 days