Question: When will baby lose his/her umbilical cord?
Answer: The time it takes for an umbilical cord stump to dry up and fall off varies, but usually occurs between one and two weeks.
The umbilical cord stump is what is left over from the attachment of the umbilical cord from the placenta to baby. It is cut shortly after birth and clamped shut. After leaving the hospital, it then has to go through the process of drying up completely before it eventually falls off and a cute little belly button is revealed.
The time it takes for an umbilical cord stump to dry up and fall off varies, but usually occurs between one and two weeks. It’s best to let it fall off completely on its own, without assistance, because pulling of any kind can result in a lot of pain for baby. Also, an open wound has the potential to get infected.
While the umbilical cord is still attached, it cannot be submerged in water or really get wet at all. This is the time for sponge baths only, and a Puj Tub works great for this occasion. Once it falls off, baby is free to take normal baths and soak the belly completely!
Like most every baby matter, a lot has changed over the years when it comes to caring for this shriveled-up newborn feature. Twenty to thirty years ago (back when I was a baby), it was recommended that parents clean around the stump with rubbing alcohol. This has since been abandoned. In fact, pediatricians now recommend that absolutely nothing be done concerning the umbilical cord. Unless there is concern of infection, or it is noticeably uncomfortable for baby, not a single thing needs to be done to care for or clean it.
A few factors could speed up or slow down the process, for example: my second baby’s umbilical cord fell off at eight days old. I believe this was due to her Jaundice since she was shirtless and under the warm bililights all day for a couple of days. Between the heat aiding in the drying up process, and the lack of clothing to protect the cord, I think she ended up losing it faster than she would have otherwise.