If the umbilicus (navel) is oozing or moist or has some dried pus on the surface, your baby probably has a low-grade infection from surface bacteria. It usually can be cleared up fairly quickly. Any infection of the umbilicus must be treated with care because of the risk of spread to the liver or the abdomen.
Oozing can happen after the cord has already fallen off, but more often the cord is still attached.
Clean away the dried secretions at least twice a day. Use a wet cotton swab or damp cloth. Then dry carefully. You will need to push down on the skin around the cord to get at this area. You may also need to bend the cord a little to get underneath it.
Caution: don’t use rubbing alcohol. (Exception: instructed by your healthcare provider to do so)
If a little pus is present, apply a tiny amount of antibiotic ointment (no prescription needed) 2 times per day after each cleansing. Stop after 2 days.
Air exposure and dryness help healing, so be sure to keep the diaper folded down below the cord area.
After the low grade infection is cleared up, return to Dry Cord care. Normal cords don’t need any special treatment. Just keep them dry (called natural drying).
Do not put talcum powder on the umbilicus. It can cause irritation and tissue reaction.
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