Host: How do I care for my baby's umbilical cord?
Dr. Ann Kellams: For the first two days and generally, while the babies are still in the hospital the clamp will remain and that is to control bleeding. Make sure it doesn't bleed and wait until the body contracts down and the cord gets a little drier and more shriveled then you can remove the clamp when the babies go home. As far as taking care of it we used to be very aggressive about alcoholing it everyday and things like that and what we found was that the cord stayed on longer and longer and longer and it can be a source of infection. So the compromise that we have reached the consensus now is that we just keep it clean and dry. So no special care is needed. We recommend not going under water in the bath tub until it has just completely fallen off, but keeping it clean and dry.
Now, babies are notorious for spitting up and pooping and all kinds of things and if it is soiled, then we recommend using a little alcohol and cleaning it up. But otherwise, nothing routinely except for just keeping it clean and dry and watching it, making sure there is no redness, discharge, puffiness, any signs of infection.