Umbilical cord care: Do's and don'ts for parents

A newborn's umbilical cord stump typically falls off within about two weeks after birth. In the meantime, treat your baby's umbilical cord stump gently.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Wonder how to care for your newborn's umbilical cord stump? Until the stump dries out and falls off, keep it clean and dry.

Why your baby has an umbilical cord stump

During pregnancy, the umbilical cord supplies nutrients and oxygen to your developing baby. After birth, the umbilical cord is no longer needed — so it's clamped and snipped. This leaves behind a short stump. The umbilical cord doesn't contain pain-sensitive nerve fibers, so your baby won't feel any discomfort during this rite of passage.

Feb. 22, 2012 See more In-depth