Dr. Perlstein received his Medical Degree from the University of Cincinnati and then completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at The New York Hospital, Cornell medical Center in New York City. After serving an additional year as Chief Pediatric Resident, he worked as a private practitioner and then was appointed Director of Ambulatory Pediatrics at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
During the first hour after delivery, usually following the baby's first bath, the umbilical stump (as it is now called) is treated with an antiseptic applied directly onto it, to decrease the chance for infection.
Twenty-four hours after delivery, the clamp can be
safely removed from the stump. It is a good idea to make sure the clamp is
removed at the hospital, before the baby goes home. The clamp can get stuck
during the home diaper changes and can pull on and injure the stump.
After mother and baby are discharged from the hospital or 24 hours after delivery, your pediatrician may recommend wiping the stump and the surrounding skin area with rubbing alcohol 2-3 times a day until the stump falls off. But some research suggests that the stump may heal faster if left alone. It's important to follow your physician's advice.
Keep the stump dry, and expose the stump to air as
much as possible to help dry out the base. Keep the front of the diaper rolled
out and down. Change wet or soiled diapers quickly to prevent irritation. In
warm weather, dress your baby in a diaper and T-shirt to improve air
Avoid bathing in a baby tub or sink until the stump falls off. Sponge baths are often the best way to wash the infant until this happens.
Within the first two weeks, the cord usually falls off. When this happens, you may notice a small, pinkish area in the bottom of the belly button, which does not look like the rest of the skin. This is expected, and normal skin will grow over it. Once this happens, it is safe to give your baby a bath. Resist the temptation to pull off the stump yourself, even if it's hanging on by only a thread.
Remember, it's normal to see a little crusting or even dried blood near the stump.