Aug 06

Cord Clamping

Delay Cord Clamping

This has become the recommended way to make sure baby gets enough blood from the placenta.

At birth the placenta still has a lot of baby blood in it.

When baby is born and takes that first big breath their lungs will fill with oxygen and the heart needs to fill with blood from the placenta.

Most hospitals will now wait for a few minutes to clamp the cord as long as baby is doing well.

However, if your baby is not breathing, your doctor or midwife might have to clamp the cord quickly before giving your baby extra help.

Let The Cord Dry Naturally

We have learned that alcohol or other disinfectants are not needed to keep the umbilical cord clean.

It will dry up and fall off quicker if left to dry naturally. You can get it wet in a tub bath and then just dry it off.

No need to wait on bathing until after the cord falls off despite what grandmother says.

Also, there is no evidence that strapping or placing a coin over the area will prevent an umbilical hernia.

It is best to not wrap or bind the belly button to avoid irritation.

Developing an ‘outie’ has nothing to do with the way we care for the cord and a lot more to do with genetics.

For babies with dry skin consider coconut oil or petroleum jelly rather than a product with chemical additives.

Use Vitamins To Prevent Bleeding

Vitamin K is recommended to prevent bleeding in the newborn.

In the old days 1 out of every 100 babies had bleeding from their belly button, rectum, mouth, or in their brain.

It was a terrible problem, and we have learned that although a low vitamin K level before birth may be beneficial (probably so they don’t clot their umbilical cord), a low level afterwards can be dangerous.

The shot we give is almost pure vitamin K and sits in the leg muscle, slowly releasing over the weeks after birth until baby has enough good bacteria in the intestines to make vitamin K.

There is no oral vitamin K that is FDA approved in the US for good reason; it is not nearly as effective as the injection.


American Academy of Pediatrics, Chapter 3
Lisa Stellwagen MD FAAP, Medical Director, Newborn Medicine, UC San Diego Health
Michelle Leff MD FAAP, Pediatrician, Newborn Hospitalist, UC San Diego Health
Ali Wolf RN CPNP, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Newborn Medicine, UC San Diego Health
Richard Silva MD FAAP, Pediatrician, North Park Family Health Center / Newborn Medicine, UC San Diego Health
Michelle Dern MD FAAP, AAP Chapter 3 Vice President, Scripps Coastal
Genevieve Parsons MD FAAP, Children’s Primary Care Medical Group