Umbilical cord care: Cleaning and sign of infection | Dr. Mukesh Kumar

How to care for umbilical Cord of newborn baby

How to care for umbilical Cord of newborn baby

by: Dr. Mukesh Kumar
Consultant Paediatrician

Umbilical stump is the delicate structure of new-born baby. At birth parents are quite worried about the care of umbilical stump and frequently ask about what to apply over it. In old days physician uses to apply gentian violet or   Neosporin powder over it to prevent infection. But in modern medicine, NO APPLICATION is advisable over the umbilical stump. The reason behind it is while applying these agent chances of contamination is more due to dirty hands or old stored products. Umbilical stump used to dry by itself and falls off spontaneously. Even after stump falls no need to apply anything over it. umbilicus becomes moist and it may have some serious secretion which is normal and dried up in next 2-3 days. If umbilicus and its surrounding area is red or indurated or having pus discharge, it is the sign of umbilical sepsis, clean it with betadine and consult your pediatrician within 24 hrs and seek proper advice. Baby may require oral or IV antibiotics as the topical application may not be helpful.


Falling of umbilical stump depends on the maturity and immunity status of the baby. In a normal full-term baby, it usually falls in 5 to 7 days. In a premature baby, it falls later around 10 – 14 days. If the baby is the sick timing of umbilical stump fall may be further delayed. In immunocompromised condition especially a rare condition, leukocyte adhesion deficiency, separation of the umbilical stump is delayed.  In some local infection like omphalitis, delayed fall is noted.

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