Care of the Navel and Circumcision

The umbilical cord remnant usually falls off within a few weeks. To keep the area clean, swab the umbilical cord (navel) each time you change your baby's diaper. Soak a cotton-tipped swab in rubbing alcohol and gently wipe the tip and base of the cord area. Your baby may squirm because the alcohol is cool, but you are not hurting him It can take several weeks for the cord stump to fall off. Continue this care for a week after it does.

Call us if you notice redness of the skin around the cord or a strong odor or pus-like discharge from the cord itself. Except for the diaper area, which you will clean at each diaper change, your baby does not get very dirty. Until the umbilical stump has fallen off, only a sponge bath is recommended.

If your son was circumcised, clean the area with a cotton ball and warm water at each diaper change. Apply petroleum jelly or the antibiotic ointment we have recommended with each diaper change to prevent the surface of the penis from sticking to the diaper. If the Plastibell method was used, the ring should fall off by the eighth day. Call us if it does not. Whatever method, call us if there is swelling, bleeding, or an unusual discharge or odor.

If your son was not circumcised, the penis can be gently cleaned daily. You should not pull back the foreskin to clean under it.

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