For many new parents the cord care is one area that many can feel squeamish about and for good reason – the ‘stump’ left behind once the umbilical cord is cut isn’t always very pretty.  However it is really important to keep this area clean and below are some tips on how to do this. Depending on your hospital policy the cord clamp may or may not be removed.

Baby cord care (for normal full term babies)

  • Keep this area clean and dry. The best way to achieve this is to leave the area alone as much as possible
  • After the first bath in plain water, pat dry with a clean towel
  • Fold the nappy back, at each change, until the cord falls off
  • Use wet cotton wool if the area becomes soiled, otherwise leave it alone
  • Do not use antiseptic wipes or powders
  • If the cord or surrounding area becomes red or pussy, notify your midwife, health visitor or doctor
  • In the first few days, it is advisable to avoid bathing and mainly top and tail your baby until the cord has separated naturally

Cord care for the sick or premature baby

This may differ slightly, due to the increased risk of infection. Antiseptic solutions and/or powders may be used for the first few days. Otherwise cord care should be the same as for any other baby. Be guided by staff in the neonatal unit and they will advise you on the best possible care for your baby.