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Newborn and Infant Care

Umbilical cord

03/20/2000

Question:

how long does it take for the cord to fall off

Answer:

The umbilical cord falls off after it dries up, generally it takes 8-10 days for the cord to fall off. In order to facilitate the severing of the cord, keep the cord dry. Turn down the diaper so that it is exposed to air and doesn`t get urine on it from a wet diaper. Recent studies suggest that wiping the cord with alcohol actually delays cord separation.

Reference: Dore, et al.,(1998). Alcohol versus natural drying for newborn cord care, JOGN, 27, 621-627,

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Response by:

Judy Wright Lott, RNC, NNP, DSN
Associate Professor of Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati