This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Australia, which closed in 2021.

When Should The Umbilical Cord Fall Off?

After the umbilical cord attaching your baby to the placenta is cut at birth, a small stump will remain attached to your baby’s belly button.

Over the course of the next 10 days, the stump will gradually dry and shrivel up until it eventually falls off.

Paediatrician Dr Keir Shiels said it will be around two to three inches long and “start off looking like a cross between blancmange and spaghetti, containing a sticky gelatinous substance”.

“Knowing how to look after it can be tricky,” he said. “The most important thing is the less you do with it the better.

“Gradually, the stalk will get smaller and darker and become twiggy and rough.”

To find out more about how to clean it and what to do if your baby’s umbilical cord hasn’t fallen off, watch the video above.

Baby 101’ is HuffPost UK’s parenting video series with paediatrician, Dr Keir Shiels, addressing topics mums and dads may face in their first year of being a parent. From colic to trapped wind, crying babies and their nappy contents, he answers some of the most common questions new parents have.

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