Baby Care : How to care for your newborn baby's umbilical cord
Caring for a newborn baby's belly button until the remnant of the umbilical cord falls off
When you take your newborn baby home from the hospital, you will find that there are very specific instructions for caring for his belly button.
After the umbilical cord is cut, there is a remaining bit that will fall off in the coming couple of weeks. During the healing process, it is likely that you will be instructed to use isopropyl alcohol specifically on the belly button and umbilical cord. During each diaper change, you can dab just a touch of alcohol on the belly button/umbilical cord. A cotton swab seems to be the most convenient thing to use for applying the isopropyl alcohol.
Facilitated by the use of the alcohol, the bit of umbilical cord remaining will eventually dry up and fall off.
You might have heard time and again that you can not give the baby a "real" bath until after the umbilical cord has fallen off. You can bathe your baby, as long as you do not get that area wet. You might want to cover the area with a gentle gauze just at bath time and clean your baby with a sponge or washcloth that has be saturated with water and gentle cleansers.