The Umbilical Cord Remnant
By Dana SullivanEven though your infant's umbilical cord looks sore and painful, rest assured that he isn't bothered by it. But to prevent infection, you'll want to keep the area clean and dry. Below you'll find a few caring for the cord tips:
Within a few days after you bring baby home you'll notice that the cord will become dry and shriveled. Don't worry, this is natural -- it means it's healing and within a week or two it should fall off. Occasionally, though, the umbilical cord can become infected. If you notice any of the following red flags, call your baby's physician immediately.
If your baby develops a moist, fleshy bump on his navel, a condition called "umbilical granuloma," your pediatrician may apply a drying solution called silver nitrate, or he may need to surgically remove the swollen growth (this minor procedure is done in the doctor's office).
If you baby's umbilical cord bulges outward, especially when he cries, he may have an umbilical hernia (a tiny hole in the abdominal wall and when baby cries, the pressure forces the nearby tissue to push outward through the hole). An umbilical hernia is twice as common in boys as in girls, and almost always heals without any treatment by baby's first birthday. If it doesn't, your pediatrician will recommend that the hole be surgically repaired.