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Umbilical Cord Care - Topic Overview

When to call a doctor

Call your baby's doctor if you see any signs of an infection. These signs include:

  • Pus (yellowish fluid) that is around the base of the cord and smells bad.
  • Red, tender skin around the base of the cord.
  • Your baby crying when you touch the cord or the skin around it.
  • Fever.

Also call your baby's doctor if you notice any other problems with the umbilical cord area, such as:

  • A moist, red lump on your baby's navel that lasts for more than 2 weeks after the umbilical cord has fallen off. This may be a piece of extra tissue called an umbilical granuloma. Your baby's doctor can treat this minor problem.
  • Bulging tissue around the navel, usually noticed after the umbilical cord falls off. This may be an umbilical hernia, which usually goes away on its own. But it should be watched by a doctor.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 27, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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