How to clean baby’s belly button

The care of your baby’s umbilical cord is important; you need to keep it clean to prevent infections so it falls off painlessly and naturally. We’ve got some how to tips on keeping your little one’s belly button clean and healthy.

Umbilical Cord

As a new born, your baby keeps their umbilical cord for the first 2 weeks. In those weeks it needs special care to prevent infections and to make sure it falls off naturally. For these couple of weeks when the cord is attached you shouldn’t bath your baby. The cord needs to be kept dry so use a wet cloth when you need to wash her.

You’ll need to clean the cord several times a day but make sure that you keep it dry.

Before you start

Wash your hands before cleaning the cord to stop any germs spreading and causing an infection.

Look for signs of an infection – check that the area hasn’t got any of the following:

  • A smell
  • Discharge
  • Pus
  • Redness
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding

Wipe the cord

Dip a cotton swab in warm water; remember the stump needs to be dry so squeeze the tip to get rid of the excess water. Gently wipe the area around the base of the cord, and then dry the stump using a clean cloth. To help the cord fall off naturally, the area needs to be kept clean.

Don’t cover the stump with tight clothing or a diaper. Let the stump breathe and it will help with the natural process of it falling off when it’s ready.

Lotions, creams, powders and oils shouldn’t be used on the stump when it hasn’t fallen off yet. They can cause infection to the area so it is best to just use a small amount of sterilised water.

After Umbilical Cord

As the umbilical cord has fallen off, your baby can now have regular baths. The umbilical area stills needs to be kept clean to prevent the spread of germs to your baby.

Before you start

Wash your hands before your start cleaning the area. Your baby is less likely to pick up an infection now the stump has fallen off but you should wash anyway as germs can still cause infection.

Wipe the belly button area

Wash her face, hair and upper body before moving on to the belly area. Take a clean cloth and gently wipe using sterilised water. Use a mild product made specifically for babies so the area doesn’t become irritated by harsh adult products.

To dry, be gentle and pat dry rather than rubbing or wiping. It is less likely to cause irritation and locks in moisture to the skin.


Now the stump has fallen off you can use baby-safe products to moisturise her skin. Baby lotions, oils and creams with a mild, gentle formula will be fine to use on the belly button area to keep it soft and moisturised. We recommend using our Baby oils, creams and lotions in the Mild & Gentle variant as it is designed specifically for sensitive, new born skin.

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