3 day old baby in mothers arms

When Does The Umbilical Cord Fall Off?

The umbilical cord can also be called the navel string or birth cord . It is a conduit between the developing embryo or fetus and the placenta. However , during prenatal development, the umbilical cord is physiologically and genetically part of the fetus.

Three minutes old baby with an uncut umbilical cord.
Three minutes old baby with an uncut umbilical cord.

Function of the umbilical cord.

Its purpose is to transport nutrients from mother to baby. As soon as the baby is born. The umbilical cord is clamped and cut off within the first three minutes of the baby’s life outside its mother’s belly.

The newborn baby wears a plastic clip on the navel area until the compressed region of the cord has dried and sealed sufficiently. Then after, the navel area is cleaned driyed.

Ambilical cord plastic clip.
Ambilical cord plastic clip.

Cleaning a newborns umbilical cord.

As your baby is still a few days old, you do not have to worry about bathing them. Only use a wet sponge on them and around the diaper area once a day. Do not clean the baby’s code area with water or soapy water as this could slow the cord drying process. The umbilical cord is normally expected to fall off naturally within three days if not seven days. Be sure to keep the code area dry all the time.

Newborn baby wearing safe umbilical cord diappers.
Newborn baby wearing safe umbilical cord diappers.

Some paediatricians recommend cleaning the base of the cord by gently rubbing with alcohol so as to help speed up the drying process and getting rid of bacteria. However, most now recommend leaving the stump completely alone because alcohol is believed to irritate the skin.
Other methods for caring for your baby’s cord include the use of Echinacea, spirit and Goldenseal Root. However, it is always best to consult your child’s paediatrician for recommendations on the most suitable alternative methods for your baby.

How to get rid of baby’s umbilical cord smell?.

Usually, when a baby is born- he or she comes out coated with secretions from the womb and birth canal and these substances do not smell pleasant. However, good cleaning should be helpful in getting rid of these unpleasant odors. When the umbilical cord attaching the baby to its mother is cut off, it should dry up and wither. It is very rare ,for the residual umbilical cord to get infected. But it can be manifested by redness, swelling, itching on and around the umbilical cord with or without discharge of dirt yellow, greenish pus.  Be sure to keep your nails short and clean.

Symptoms of umbilical cord infection in babies.

If infected;

  • Indications of pain when you touch the code.
  • The baby refuses to feed.
  • Or does not feed as they normally do.
  • Or is having feeding difficulties like not being able to suckle.
  • Baby not sleeping.
  • The baby cries continuously.
  • He or she might develop a high fever due to infection.
  • The baby becomes very irritable.
  • Bad smell coming from the code.
  • If the baby is not breathing properly.
  • when he or she has red, swollen eyelids with pus discharge. 
  • when the baby is always fussy.
  • Redness and swelling around the cord.
  • A pus or discharge around the cord.
  • Jaundice.

How to handle your baby after the umbilical cord falls off.

When your baby’s umbilical code off, it brings a means you can now hold your baby without any fear of you causing them pain or disturbing the code. You can now jump into your baby’s wardrobe and dress them up with those beautiful clothes you bought months back and could not wait to see how they look on him or her. Though it does not mean that the babys navel is completely healed. The baby’s naval area still needs a bit more careful attention.

Newborn baby (umbilical cord has fallen off.)
Newborn baby (umbilical cord has fallen off.)

Then you need not worry about the smell. Just leave the cord as such, tolerate the bad smell for a few more days, until the stud dries and falls off. Once the stump falls off, the bad smell will also disappear spontaneously, on its own without you attempting to remove it forcibly. As you might end up causing a lot of pain to the baby or even causing wounds around that area. So it is wise to let it dry and fall off naturally.  

Detarched umblical cord.
Detarched umbilical cord.


Things to do after the umbilical cord falls off.Do not worry, if the baby is ;
i) After the code has fallen off, you need to continue cleaning the naval area until it’s totally dry and healed as well.i) Eating and  sleeping well.
ii) Wipe away any remaining secretions with a dampened washcloth and pat dry.ii) Does not cry unduly.
iii) Also, do stick to your sponge baths for a couple of days.iii) Does not cry when cord is touched.
iv) Use a cotton swab dampened with water with a little bit of soap to wipe away any blood or secretions.
v) Do not worry — if you see a few drops of blood for it is normal.It means that the area is healing.
v) Use diapers with an umbilical cord peephole.
vi) If you are using diapers keep the front of the baby’s diaper folded down for quicker drying.
vii) Dress your baby in loose clothing so that the cord is exposed and can dry out. These well-ventilated clothes will allow more air circulation.
Information on how to handle baby with after umbilical cord has fallen off.

If the umbilical cord is pulled off accidentally.

NB: If the cord stump is pulled off accidentally; And, starts to bleed actively, meaning every time you wipe away a drop of blood, another drop appears. If the cord stump continues to bleed, call your baby’s provider immediately.

Free to bathe your baby.

Once your baby’s cord has fallen off and has dried out, you are free to give them a tub bath. You can clean their head, body, and diaper area. When bathing him or her, begin by submerging their body in a shallow bath.Malibg sure that you have a gentle but firm grip of your baby_ legs towards your belly and head supported towards the tub, wash head first and face. Avoid scooping a lot of water. With your fingers cover the baby’s ears so that water does not get into his or her ears. Use just your hands without soap for this, as it is her first bath.

Bathing your baby.

If you prefer using soap for bathing your baby , be on tch be sure to note any reactions, once this happens stop using it for a while or try something else. My baby reacted to all kinds of baby soap. So I ended up using Johnson’s baby aqueous cream for bathing her and for moisturizing it works perfectly well for me up to the present date. Thence after you can try and submerge your baby into the water.

Support your baby as they are not able to sit .With one hand support the baby and the other bathe the baby’s body carefully forgetting the diaper area and between the buttocks clean, the area well and carefully.

Keep your baby warm.

Baby wrapped up in a warm towel to protect navel.
Baby wrapped up in a warm towel to protect navel.

Wrap your baby in a baby wrapping towel to dry them off ,after their bath and clothes them in loose clothes for the naval area to dry and heal fast. Always keep the baby warm and wrapped up in clean soft layers of clothes and wrappers. Make sure the baby I warm and comfortable, and that the materials are not too tight…


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