Caring for a newborn infant's navel is usually simple. The remnant of the umbilical cord usually dries up and falls off with no problem. But in some cases the navel area can become infected. When this happens there may be a discharge of pus from the belly button area as well as an offensive odour. It is best to contact your paediatrician if this occurs since an antibiotic may be necessary. But there are also a few things you can do to properly care for the navel area at home.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Keep the area clean and dry. Fold the diaper down to expose the area to air and prevent the diaper from causing irritation to the area.
Do not immerse the infant in water until the umbilical cord has completely dried up and fallen off. Give the baby sponge baths instead.
Clean the infected navel area 3 to 4 times daily with alcohol to aid healing and dry up the cord remnant.
How to Care for an Infant's Infected Navel Area
Tips and warnings
- If any of the following symptoms appear contact your paediatrician immediately.
- Redness around the navel area or red streaks
- Foul smelling discharge from the umbilical cord or navel area
- An oral antibiotic or antibiotic ointment may be required to clear up the infection.