Umbilical Cord Fell Off Gooey Underneath

If you notice any signs of infection or your baby seems to be in pain, call your pediatrician. A course of antibiotics will get your baby’s belly button back to healing in no time.

Umbilical cord fell off but it looks a bit infected?

Her stump fell off yesterday and her belly button looks a bit red with some bleeding and a bit of yellowish puss in the centre. Google tells me two things:
1) this is normal – just keep it clean and dry
2) this is not normal – call practitioner immediately


Lexi’s looked the same. Doctor wasn’t worried. I never knew bellybuttons started off so gross. Lol

I believe normal. My sons looks the same and DR said last week that its normal to look a little red around the area and the yellow in the middle is just tissue healing. If there is actual puss leaking, bleeding that actual bleeds and not just dried blood, or hot to touch on the redness, it’s healing normal. And it’s getting better by the day. I noticed after a warm bath the day it fell off, it looked much better and cleaner.

Sounds normal. Monitor it and try to avoid touching it etc. but sounds like my sons did.

Original poster

Here’s a picture

That doesn’t look good to me

Hmm. It does look a bit red. Does she cry when you touch it? The yellow in the centre is what my baby’s looks like. But it’s redder on the outside.

Original poster

I cleaned the area with a warm facecloth a little while ago and dried it after and she didn’t seem bothered at all but she’s a tough little cookie.. I think I’ll take her in to get it looked at.. Too bad her new born photos are tomorrow morning lol. It’s not exactly picture ready.. Hoping it’s not a bad infection! Poor baby :(. This mom stuff is stressful!

In reply to KatoHarper

Here’s a picture

That’s exactly how my daughters looked and I was in a panic thinking it was infected. Normal! It went away!! I used qtips with water as well as alcohol swaps to dry it up.

Original poster

In reply to Ranza

That’s exactly how my daughters looked and I was in a panic thinking it was infected. Normal! It went away!! I used qtips with water as well as alcohol swaps to dry it up.

Ughhh.. I just got off the phone with a telehealth nurse who said that by the sounds of it, it’s normal. I feel so much better.. I’m still going to keep a close eye on it but I’m not freaking out as bad now. Thanks!

That’s how my little guys was too. I just washed it well in the bath and then wiped it with an alcohol wipe 3x a day (dries it out nicely) it’s looking 100 percent now

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When Your Baby’s Umbilical Cord Will Fall Off and What to Do

All What to Expect content that addresses health or safety is medically reviewed by a team of vetted health professionals. Our Medical Review Board includes OB/GYNs, pediatricians, infectious disease specialists, doulas, lactation counselors, endocrinologists, fertility specialists and more.

We believe you should always know the source of the information you’re reading. Learn more about our editorial and medical review policies.

on July 14, 2021

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umbilical cord care

Caring for baby’s umbilical cord after birth is simpler than it might seem. Here’s what you need to know.

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In This Article

  • When does the umbilical cord fall off?
  • What to do when the umbilical cord falls off
  • Umbilical cord care tips
  • Infected umbilical cord or belly button
  • Umbilical cord or belly button bleeding

Your baby’s umbilical cord stump is a funny little piece of skin that’s actually the last link to his stay in the womb. When the umbilical cord is cut at birth, a bit remains still attached to his navel — and it’ll go through a metamorphosis during your baby’s early days.

Indeed, the color and look of the stump changes from yellowish-green to black and crusty as it dries up and then falls off. Frankly, it looks downright weird, even gross, but don’t be intimidated. Read on for easy care tips for your baby’s umbilical cord as well as what to do if you think something’s not right.

See also  How Long Does It Take A Belly Piercing To Heal

When does the umbilical cord fall off?

It may seem like it’s taking its sweet time, but the umbilical cord stump should dry up and drop away by the time your baby is 3 weeks old, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

It’s possible the stump will fall away sooner, but if it’s lingering longer than that timeframe, make an appointment with the pediatrician to get it checked out.

What to do when the umbilical cord falls off

Most cords dry completely and then fall off, leaving behind a cute baby belly button. You might notice a small raw spot or a bit of blood-tinged fluid oozing out. Try not to worry — this is also normal. But if you notice more profuse bleeding, call the doctor.

In some cases, the cord may form reddish-pink scar tissue called an umbilical granuloma, which may secrete a yellowish discharge. This should clear up in a week, but if it doesn’t, check in with your baby’s pediatrician. An umbilical granuloma is a very treatable condition.

Umbilical cord care tips

Nowadays, the standard practice when it comes to caring for a newborn umbilical cord is to keep it dry. Skip the rubbing alcohol and other ointments, and follow these umbilical cord tips to promote good healing:

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  • Keep it clean. If the stump gets dirty, dab it gently with a wet washcloth and then pat the area with a dry cloth. (It’s unlikely you’ll need to do this, as the cord usually stays pretty clean.) Avoid using soap, which can irritate a baby’s tender skin.
  • Air the stump out. Help the base dry by regularly exposing it to air.
  • Stick to sponge baths. Don’t dunk that navel underwater for now — sponge baths are enough. Once the stump falls off, feel free to bathe your baby in his pint-sized tub.
  • Diaper delicately. Avoid covering the stump with the top of his diaper. Some newborn-size disposables feature a little notch at the waistband, or you can simply fold down the front of the diaper to keep it from rubbing the stump area.
  • Change diapers frequently. Change wet and dirty diapers promptly so they don’t leak upward toward the navel and aggravate your baby’s healing cord.
  • Dress delicately too. Choose loose-fitting clothing that doesn’t press against the stump or outfits with a special cutout for this area. Instead of onesies that snap at the crotch, try kimono-style bodysuits, which tie on the side for more air circulation and less rubbing.
  • Resist touching or pulling. Let the scab fall off on its own. Never pull it, even if it seems to connect by only the tiniest thread. If it gets yanked off too soon, it could start bleeding continuously. If this happens, call your baby’s doctor immediately.

Infected umbilical cord or belly button

Healing belly buttons almost always look worse than they actually are, even when they’re progressing normally. It’s rare that a healing umbilical cord stump gets infected, but when it does, the condition is called omphalitis.

Watch for these symptoms of a newborn belly button infection, or omphalitis:

  • Red skin or a red, swollen appearance at the base of the cord
  • A fluid-filled lump on or near your baby’s umbilical cord stump
  • Oozing pus or discharge
  • Bleeding from the scab (though a little dried blood is normal)
  • Foul smell
  • Fever or lethargy
  • Low appetite
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Crying when you touch the cord or the area around it

If you notice any signs of infection or your baby seems to be in pain, call your pediatrician. A course of antibiotics will get your baby’s belly button back to healing in no time.

Umbilical cord or belly button bleeding

It’s normal to spot a few drops of blood on your baby’s diaper after his stump falls off, but you should monitor any additional umbilical cord bleeding closely. Contact your baby’s doctor if a small amount of bleeding lasts for more than three days.

If heavier belly button bleeding won’t stop after 10 minutes of direct pressure applied two times or if there’s a blood stain that’s more than two inches across, immediately call or visit the pediatrician. Continuous bleeding or a sizable spot of blood at this very young age (under a month) is a concern and should get checked out.

Less is more when it comes to caring for your baby’s umbilical cord. If you keep the stump area dry and you do your best to avoid touching it when you diaper and dress your baby, this little piece of leftover skin should fall off in no time at all.

From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

View Sources

  • What to Expect the First Year, 3rd edition, Heidi Murkoff.
  •, What’s a Umbilical Granuloma and How Do You Treat It?, June 2021.
  •, Cutting Baby’s Umbilical Cord: Should You Delay Clamping?, October 2018.
  •, Baby’s First Bath, March 2019.
  •, How to Treat Omphalitis in Newborn Babies, November 2020.
  • American Academy of Pediatrics, Umbilical Cord Care, December 2020.
  • PediaClinic, Umbilical Granuloma, 2020.
  • Seattle Children’s, Umbilical Cord Symptoms, March 2021.
  • Mayo Clinic, Umbilical Cord Care: Do’s and Don’ts for Parents, February 2020.
  • March of Dimes, Umbilical Cord Conditions, June 2016.

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