Here's All You Need To Know About Caring For Umbilical Cords

Here's All You Need To Know About Caring For Umbilical Cords

Normal, when the umbilical cord is cut off, there might be a small amount of umbilical cord bleeding. If not properly cared for, it leads to infections. Read to learn how to cut it and what to do if it bleeds

When your baby is still in the womb, the placenta connects you to the baby. The placenta, which is responsible for the development, provides the baby with nutrients and oxygen. Also, it collects the waste product that is in your baby's blood. But this all happens when the baby is still in the womb. As soon as the baby says hello to the world, the placenta becomes much less useful. Your baby no longer depends on it, so the doctors cut the cord. Normally, the cord is supposed to fall off and leave behind a belly button. But sometimes, while the cord is falling off umbilical cord bleeding may occur. This isn't usually a problem, but there are times it is an indication of something an infection.

Umbilical cord: how to cut it

umbilical cord bleeding

This is a significant moment for most parents if they chose to do the cutting themselves. The process of cutting is the same whether it's the mother, dad, or the doctor that is doing the cutting. The following are steps for cutting the umbilical cord. 

  • Let the cord finish pulsing before you cut it. When you do this, there is less risk of iron deficiency in the first six months. 
  • The doctor will ensure that there are two clamps on the cord (This part is carried out by the doctor). 
  • The part of the cord you're supposed to cut, hold it with gauze underneath.  
  • Cut between the two clamps using sterilised scissors. 
  • There will be blood. This depends on how long you wait before cutting. Blood will be less the longer you waited. Dab excess blood that comes out. 
  • Put the scissors away.

Why does umbilical cord bleeding occur? 

Most umbilical cord bleedings are normal. A mother may notice a spot of blood just where the baby's body separates from the cord. This kind of bleeding is normal. Another thing that causes umbilical cord bleeding is baby diapers. If your baby's diaper is rubbing against the umbilical cord this will bring about bleeding.  

How do I take care of my baby's umbilical cord stump? 

umbilical cord bleeding

Umbilical cord stump is what's left after the umbilical cord has fallen off. This is the part that becomes your child's belly button. Caring for it properly helps prevent bleeding and infection. The following are ways you can care for the stump. 


  • A lot of people know to clean the umbilical cord stump with alcohol until it became the norm. But recent evidence suggests that the practice is not really necessary. Alcohol lengthens the healing time of the stump. 
  • Change the baby's diapers frequently so that urine or stool doesn't touch the stump area and infect it. 
  • Air the stump area from time to time throughout the day to help dry it out. And don't bandage or wrap with anything. 
  • Allow the stump enough time to fall off on it's own. Do not attempt to pull it off yourself as this may cause bleeding. And this puts the baby at risk of infection. 
  • Bath your baby with a sponge while the stump is still in place. This helps keep the area dry instead of dipping the baby's body into the water. 

How long does it take for the umbilical cord to fall off?

umbilical cord bleeding


The time frame for the umbilical cord to fall off is between ten to fourteen days. But it's not uncommon for a child's umbilical cord to fall a week after being born or as far as three weeks. 

When should I see a doctor?

Contact your doctor whenever a newborn's fever climbs to a rectal temperature of 100.4°F or higher. Other conditions that may require the same urgency include: 

  • Omphalitis

See your doctor immediately if there is swelling, redness, warmth, or tenderness on the skin around the belly button area. Also, if it is oozing a foul-smelling discharge. Those are symptoms of omphalitis, which is an infection of the belly button and the surrounding area. It can be life-threatening. 

  • Umbilical granuloma 

This condition is without the symptoms of the first. You might notice a yellow-green excretion from the belly button but without the fever, redness, swelling, warmth or tenderness surrounding the area. See the doctor as soon as possible. It is a condition known as Granuloma. It is a tissue, pinkish-red and firm looking. 

Furthermore, this can be treated by dabbing a cotton swab dipped in silver nitrate. The process needs to be repeated until the place is healed. Thankfully, it is painless. Even if the baby is crying it is not from any pain. It might be because of the stick in the belly button with which the treatment is being applied. 

  • Continuous bleeding 

A little bleeding is normal but if you notice continuous bleeding from the umbilical stump, please see your doctor. It may be that there is a clotting problem. 

If you chose to cut the cord yourself, you may be surprised to find that the cord is hard and not as soft as you may have imagined.

Read more: How to prevent Preeclampsia: A-Z of Preeclampsia

Source: Medical News Today, Healthline, E-medicine Health

Written by

Lydia Ume