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  Umbilical cord
The remains of my baby’s umbilical cord looks black and disgusting. How do I know if it is ok?

The remains of the umbilical cord that was once vital to your baby’s survival can take up to 4 weeks to fall off. However most babies lose theirs within the first few weeks. During that time it does look black and nasty, but there is only likely to be a problem if there is redness, discharge or a bad smell around the stump.

There is not a lot you can do to speed up this process, but keeping the area dry is very important. It may be wise to only top-and-tail the baby as opposed to a proper bath, until the cord has fallen off. Also keep the nappy and clothes off the area, as fresh air is your greatest ally in drying the stump out. Dabbing the cord with alcohol was always believed to keep it clean and infection free, but opinions vary in this regard so it may be worth asking your doctor’s advice. If you are using alcohol, be sure to dab only the cord and not the surrounding skin.

It sometimes happens that when the stump falls off it leaves a raw patch of skin. Again this is quite normal, but watch it carefully to ensure that it heals within a few days.


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