Cord Stump

After your baby is born, the umblicial cord will be clamped and cut which seperates the baby from the placenta. Cutting the cord is often a special task that Fathers can perform (with either natural labour and c-section).  It can be a bit tough/rubbery to cut through the cord, though is painless for baby.   Depending on your health professional, the cord may be clamped and cut immediately after birth, or when the cord has stopped pulsating.  Baby will be left with a short umblicial stump, about 2 or 3 centimetres long, which will be clamped down with a plastic clamp.

(With a Lotus Birth the cord is not cut at all, the placenta and umblical cord remain attached to baby to come away naturally after several days).

Over the next few days, the stump will dry up, the plastic clamp may fall off as the stump shrinks, and  the stump may turn black and drop off anywhere between five to 15 days after birth.  It will then leave a small wound which will take a few days to heal, this is the part that may have a little pus.

Throughout the healing process, the stump and then the wound must be kept clean and dry to prevent infection.   Always wash your hands before handling your baby’s cord stump (and keep handling minimial) before and after nappy changes.  Baby’s nappies may sit a little high over the stump across their tummy – which can increase the chance of getting urine or poop into the stump, so avoid thisby folding the nappy down away from the cord stump.   Also where temperature permits, leave the stump exposed to air occassionaly to help it dry out.

During bath time, gently clean the stump with water and light soap, and rinse with a cup.  Ensure that it is fully dry by dabbing gently with cotton wool balls.

After the stump falls off, it usually takes about five to ten days for the area to heal over completely and form a belly button. When the stump falls off, you may see a little blood on the nappy, which is normal.

It is normal for the wound to look a bit “mucky”, or appear to have pus at the base, as it dries up and heals but this does not mean that it is infected. Ask your midwife to check your baby’s cord stump if you are worried about its appearance or smell.

cord stump is black and drying up.


the cord has fallen off and left a little wound underneath


after 5 days the wound has healed and belly button has formed

Consult your midwife if:

  • The navel and the surrounding area become swollen or red.
  • The cord stump becomes swollen or smelly.