Umbilical Cord and Circumcision Care

Follow these guidelines to care for your newborn’s umbilical cord and, if relevant, circumcision:

Cord Care

It generally takes 1–3 weeks for a baby’s umbilical cord stump to fall off, though it could take longer if it gets wet during bathing. Most pediatricians suggest only sponge baths until the umbilical cord falls off. While waiting for this to happen:

  • Fold down the top of diapers to keep them from rubbing and irritating the spot, and avoid getting it wet.
  • Call your pediatrician if you see any redness or pus at the base of the cord or if the belly button appears wet and swollen after the stump falls off
Circumcision Care

If your baby boy has been circumcised:

  • Keep a coating of petroleum jelly on the area until it heals to keep it from sticking to the diaper. If the circumcision was done with a ring, however, consult your pediatrician about care.
  • If the penis becomes soiled in the diaper, clean it gently with soap and water and dab on a little more petroleum jelly. Otherwise, avoid wetting it.
  • Call your pediatrician if the area is red for more than 10 days, swells or bleeds more than a few drops.

Disclaimer: This page is not intended to provide medical advice about your child. Always seek the advice of a physician, qualified healthcare provider or child-development specialist with any questions you have about your child's health, medical condition or development. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you read here.

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