What is normal for the umbilical stump? What signs would need further attention?


2 Answers 2


If you have any concerns you should speak to your midwife or health visitor or doctor straight away. You should especially talk to them if you notice any bleeding, or any discharge, or if the area is hot and red and inflamed.

The umbilical cord and surrounding area needs to be monitored and cared for. It's a possible source of complications. Luckily most of what you need to do is straightforward.


Shortly after birth, the midwife will clamp the umbilical cord close to your baby's belly button (navel) with a plastic clip. They then cut the cord, leaving a small bit of it with the clamp attached (or your birth partner may like to do this). The cord may take about a week to dry out and drop off. Keep your baby's navel clean and dry until this happens. If you notice any bleeding or discharge from the navel, tell your midwife, health visitor, or GP.

The umbilical cord is supposed to turn black.

Between five and 15 days after your baby is born, the umbilical stump will dry out, turn black and drop off. After the stump comes off, it usually takes about seven to 10 days for the belly button to heal completely. Until the stump drops off and the belly button is completely healed, it's important to keep the area clean and dry, to prevent infection. If you notice any bleeding or discharge from your baby's belly button, ask your midwife, health visitor or GP for advice.

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    I think this is a useful answer, but it doesn't address color changes and the relationship to that and infection. Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 20:41

If the stump has a bad odour and a discharge then you may need to get it looked at by your public health nurse or paediatrician. It's important to keep it clean with cotton wool and cooled boiled water, do this at each nappy change.

Caldesene powder was recommended to us for the same thing and it has worked. It was applied at each nappy change and completely dried out the area.

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