Dip a cotton swab in warm water. Squeeze the tip to remove the excess water. Gently clean around the base of the cord and then the surrounding skin, then hold the stump with a clean absorbent cloth to dry it completely. It is important that the umbilical cord remain clean and dry until it falls off naturally.
Antibiotic Ointment for Pus:
- If any pus is present, use an antibiotic ointment (such as Polysporin).
- No prescription is needed.
- Put a tiny amount on the belly button.
- Do this 2 times per day after the area has been cleaned.
- Do this for 2 days. After that, use the antibiotic ointment only if you see more pus.
How do you treat an infected umbilical cord?
Clean the area around the cord as directed. You may be told to use a clean, moist cloth, alcohol pads, or a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. Remove all drainage and clean an inch around the base. If there is a little drainage is present you may be advised to use antibiotic ointment after each cleaning.
Normal Navel Care:
- Keep the navel (belly button) clean and dry.
- If there are any secretions, clean them away. Use a wet cotton swab. Then, dry carefully.
- Do this gently to prevent any bleeding.
- Caution: Don’t use any rubbing alcohol. Reason: can interfere with healing.
Signs of an Infected Umbilical Cord Stump
A smelly yellow discharge from the stump area. A reddening of the skin around the stump. Swelling of the navel area. Your baby crying when you touch the stump, indicating it is tender or sore.
If your belly button is “leaking” clear or colored discharge or blood, you may have a bacterial, fungal, or yeast infection. Crusty skin, strong odor, itching, and redness are also signs of infection. If discharge and crust stick around after you wash your belly button, you should see your doctor.
What does an infected umbilical cord smell like?
If the cord stump gets murky, brown, gooey, and smells like decaying flesh, just know it’s because it IS decaying flesh – and it smells horrid. Wipe away the grossness, keep it dry, and it’ll soon fall off.
Is it normal for umbilical cord to have pus?
Much like a scab, the cord stump might bleed a little when it falls off. However, contact your baby’s doctor if the umbilical area oozes pus, the surrounding skin becomes red and swollen, or the area develops a pink moist bump. These could be signs of an umbilical cord infection.
What to do after the umbilical cord falls off
- Wipe away any remaining secretions with a dampened washcloth and pat dry.
- Stick to sponge baths for a couple of days longer and then let your baby indulge in a tub.
Can my baby have a bath before the umbilical cord falls off? Only give your newborn sponge baths until the stump of the umbilical cord falls off, which usually happens by about one or two weeks of age. If it remains beyond that time, there may be other issues at play.
Why do you bury a baby’s umbilical cord?
“Umbilical cords were intended to be buried because this “anchors the baby to the earth” (Knoki-Wilson, 8/10/92). Baring the umbilical cord in the Earth establishes lifelong connection between the baby and the place.
Pediatricians used to recommend cleaning the base of the cord with rubbing alcohol. However, most now recommend leaving the stump completely alone because alcohol is believed to irritate the skin and sometimes delays healing.
Dip your finger or a soft washcloth in a solution of salt water (about a teaspoon of table salt in a cup of warm water) and gently massage the inside of your navel. This should loosen stubborn germs that can cause odor. Then rinse with plain water and pat it dry.
Outies usually occur when more of the umbilical cord is left when it’s cut, leading to more skin left over once it dries out. In some rare cases, outies are caused by a condition known as an umbilical hernia.