When a baby is born, it is still attached to the umbilical cord. In the womb, the cord helped the baby breathe, eat, and get rid of waste.

Once they are out in the air, the cord isn’t needed any longer. Most of it is removed, leaving only what is called the stump.

The question is, how do you care for your newborn baby’s stump and navel? We will go over the process of how the navel comes to be, as well as some tips and potential complications regarding taking care of your baby’s navel.

How to Care For a Newborn Baby Navel

The Beginning Of the Navel

As we have said, babies aren’t born with a navel, per se. In fact, the navel is the result of the baby’s umbilical cord stump falling off.

When the baby is born, the doctor will clamp the umbilical cord to begin the process of removing the child from this lifeline. They leave a couple of inches of the umbilical cord still attached, as it is connected to live tissue.

Eventually, the stump will dry up and fall off. After this happens, your child’s navel, whether an innie or an outie, will be revealed. This is where the major care begins to take place.


Tips For Caring For a Newborn Navel

When the stump is still attached, the best thing you can do is avoid getting it dirty and keep it dry. In order to do that, we have a few tips that you may want to follow to make the process smoother and safer for your baby.

  • If the stump does get wet, you should pat it dry with a clean cloth or Q-tips. You need to make sure you’re not too harsh when you do it, though, as you want the stump to fall off when it is ready.
  • The diapers you put your newborn in can play a part in rubbing the cord the wrong way. Unless you have specially designed diapers, you may want to fold down the top. This will help keep the diaper from agitating the stump.
  • Lastly, a good suggestion is to dress your baby in clean cotton clothes. You will want to make sure that, if you do put clothes over the stump, they are loose-fitting and breathe well.


How To Clean the Navel

How do you clean your baby if you’re trying to keep the stump dry? The answer is sponge baths. You will want to follow these steps.

  • Find a good place and lay down a clean towel. Then, place your baby on that towel.
  • With a clean washcloth that is slightly damp, clean your baby. Be careful not to get too close to the stump, though.
  • Next, let your baby dry in the open air and dress it in clean, preferably cotton clothes.

Once the umbilical stump falls off, you will be able to ditch the sponge baths for the standard bath. At that point, you will want to begin by taking a washcloth and gently cleaning the area. Initially, when the cord falls off, it will look like an open scab wound, so you will want to be gentle as you do this and make sure that it gets dried thoroughly.


Potential Complications

There are some things that you need to keep an eye out for, a do’s and don’ts list when it comes to umbilical cord care, you might say. If not taken care of, your baby can experience umbilical hernia or infections. Below is a list of things to watch out for.

  • Inflammation
  • Bleeding
  • Smell
  • Tenderness
  • Pus

How to Care For a Newborn Baby Navel


The key to understanding how to care for a newborn baby navel is patience. You will want to make sure that your umbilical cord stays dry and is not rubbed too hard before it falls off.

After that, the care of the baby’s navel is easy. Make sure to keep an eye out for any of the issues, and if you begin to see any of the signs, make sure you seek consultation with your pediatrician immediately.