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Umbilical cord attached to baby's navel detached. Need to apply ointment?

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My wife had a delivery last 7th and the umbilical cord which was attached to the baby navel came off today. Do we need to apply some ointment or just leave it as it is?
Posted Mon, 1 Oct 2012 in Child Health
Answered by Dr. Taher Kagalwala 8 minutes later

Separation of the umbilical cord is by the process of Nature in which the tissue gradually dies and shrivels up and separates. In the process, sometimes, there is extrusion of a small quantity of liquid that may appear slightly yellow or be tinged with blood.

The way to check if there is any infection of the tissue left behind is to go close to the baby and smell the umbilical stump. Infection will cause it to emit a bad (foul) smell; at the same time, the area may look red and slightly swollen with inflammation; the yellowish fluid may come to resemble pus if there is infection. If you see any of these things, you must rush to her/his doctor, preferably a pediatrician.

If, however, the stump is looking "clean", you may just clean it with a cotton swab dipped in a 1:1 diluted solution of DettolĀ® two or three times a day. There is no need to apply any ointment or dressing over it.

Hope this helps.

Wish you happy parenting, and hearty congratulations on the new arrival to your wife, to you and to your whole family.

With best wishes,

Dr. Taher
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