Last Reviewed: April 2017
Taking Care of Your Newborn
Umbilical Cord Care
The umbilical cord is a cord made up of blood vessels (a vein and two arteries). It connects the placenta to the growing baby inside the uterus to provide nutrients and oxygen to the developing baby.
The cord after birth
The umbilical cord isn't necessary once a baby is born.
After a baby is born, the umbilical cord is clamped and cut, leaving a short stump behind.
Since an umbilical cord doesn't have nerves, your baby won't feel any pain or discomfort when the cord is cut.
Cord appearance and care
Your baby's umbilical cord will change colour from yellow/green, to brown, then to black usually falling off 10 - 14 days after birth.
You can still bathe your baby in a baby tub or the sink while his cord is attached. (Remember, however, that babies need a bath only every two to three days, otherwise the skin can dry out very easily.)
Wash the umbilical cord area (cord stump) with water when you bathe your baby. After each bath, make sure to pat the area dry with a clean towel or leave it open to air-dry. Fold the diaper down and away from the cord.
Also, be sure to wash the umbilical cord if it's wet or soiled from your baby's diaper. Always dry the cord after it has been washed.
Always keep the umbilical cord clean and dry to prevent infection.
While a little redness and slight bleeding (small drops of blood) around the cord is normal, call your doctor right away if:
Watch a short video on taking care of your baby's umbilical cord.
Source: Trillium Health Care
- You notice an odd or foul smell coming from the area.
- You notice yellow puss or discharge.
- Your baby develops a fever.
- The redness begins to spread and is warm to touch.
- The bleeding doesn't stop.