July 02, 2015

Q: How should I clean my baby's umbilical cord?

A: For years, the standard was to treat the umbilical cord with alcohol. Turns out, there's no real reason to -- a study in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing found that alcohol offers no benefit, and that cords left alone fall off around two to three days sooner than those that are treated. To care for your baby's cord stump, keep it clean and dry, but don't panic if it accidentally gets wet -- just dab it gently with a clean cloth. Fold the diaper down to prevent friction and increase airflow, and call your pediatrician if the cord develops an odor, becomes mushy, or is still on at three weeks. --Jennifer L.W. Fink

Originally published in Parents magazine, January 2008. Updated 2009

Answered by Parents Team

Comments (1)

December 1, 2018
My baby never slept well (especially through the night) until I started using the website www.SleepBaby.org - that website has been by far one of the best things I've ever got my hands on to get him to fall asleep quickly. Best time is 45 seconds from awake to asleep! Can’t imagine life without it! I heard about it through a kindergarten teacher who uses it to put to sleep a group of 30 children. Check it out!