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How should I wash my baby's umbilical cord during a sponge bath?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Do not wash the baby's umbilical cord. It is recommended to clean the area with alcohol swabs perhaps twice daily, keeping the area clean and dry in order to help the cord dry out. If it becomes soiled, perhaps with stool, clean with soapy washcloth and pat dry. Leave cord stump out of diaper to allow for drying.

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

In general the umbilical cord area is kept clean and dry until the cord stump detaches and the area heals. When giving the infant a sponge bath wash around the umbilical area. However if the umbilical area is soiled with urine, stool, or other substances gentle cleanse the area with clear water, pat dry and fold down the infant’s diaper to expose the area to air.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.