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Health Tip: Caring for Baby's Umbilical Cord

Recommendations may vary by doctor

(HealthDay News) -- Newborns still have a little stump of what's left of the umbilical cord. Though it should fall off on its own by the end of the third week, some doctors recommend that parents take additional steps to prevent infection. Other doctors recommend leaving the area alone.

If the pediatrician approves, the Nemours Foundation says, here are suggestions to help parents care for a newborn's umbilical cord:

  • Use a cotton swab and rubbing alcohol to gently dab the area.
  • Don't submerge the baby's navel in water until the cord has fallen off. Keep the area dry, and give sponge baths instead.
  • Look for any potential signs of infection, such like a reddening of the area, discharge or an unpleasant odor.
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