Cord healing

The healing stages
Day 1-2 advice for parents:

The cored will be quite thick and soft and will be held closed with a plastic clamp or peg.

cord healing day 1 to 2.png

Day 2-3 advice for parents

In the first two or three days the cord will get thinner looking and be hard and drier to the touch.

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Day 3-5 advice for parents

The cord will become very dark and hard in the first week.

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Day 5+ advice for parents

The cord may begin to ooze a little around where it joins onto baby's skin. This is when you can wash it off with water and dry it. Do not be scared to gently move and clean underneath - it will not hurt your baby. Soon it will fall off, but never try to pull of pick it off.

cord healing day 5 plus.png

When the cord falls off - day 5 - 14 advice for parents

There will be a small 'scab' where the cord falls away from your baby's tummy. Just keep this clean and dry and over a period of time, new skin will develop. During this time there can be a little bit of old blood marking your baby's vest or clothes. Just give the cord a wash and dry and new skin will cover this area over time.

cord healing 5 to 14 days.png

If your baby still has his/her cord attached after day 14 then contact your GP or Health Visitor for further advice.



Is my baby's cord infected?


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If the skin around the baby's cord look red then it could be a sign of infection, particularly if the redness is above the cord in a line pointing towards the baby's chin.

is babys cord infected 2.png

If ANY of the following symptoms are present:

  • Baby is too hot or cold even though you have taken off or added clothes. If you have a thermometer - too cold is below 36 degreees C and too hot is above 38 degrees C.
  • Skin is pale, blue or mottled.
  • Baby is making a grunting noise when she/he breathes, flaring their nostrils and drawing in their tummy with every breath and may be too breahtless to feed.
  • Baby is very floppy and weak or very stiff with jerky movements.
  • Skin around the baby's lips, tongue or guma is blue.
  • The cord is actively bleeding (bleeding like a freshly cut finger for example)

You need urgent help.

Go to the nearest Hospital Emergency (A&E) Department or phone 999

The cord:

  • is wet or weeping
  • has an unpleasant smell (remains after cleaning)
  • red area around or above the cord but otherwise baby seems well

You need to contact your Midwife or postnatal coordinator for advice and support or call your GP/NHS 111 - dial 111

  • The cord is following the normal stages of separation.
  • There are no symptoms from the Amber or Red sections above.


Self care

Continue providing your child’s care at home. If you are still contact your Community Midwife or call NHS 111 – dial 111

Self Care

For wear and tear, minor trips and everything in between.


You can treat your child's very minor illnesses and injuries at home.

Some illnesses can be treated in your own home with support and advice from the services listed when required, using the recommended medicines and getting plenty of rest.

Sound advice

Children can recover from illness quickly but also can become more poorly quickly; it is important to seek further advice if a child's condition gets worse.

For information on common childhood illnesses go to What is wrong with my child?

Local Pharmacist

Pharmacists are experts in many aspects of healthcare and can offer advice on a wide range of long-term conditions and common illnesses such as coughs, colds and stomach upsets. You don’t need an appointment and many have private consultation areas, so they are a good first port of call. Your pharmacist will say if you need further medical attention.

Sound advice

  1. Visit a pharmacy if your child is ill, but does not need to see a GP.
  2. Remember that if your child's condition gets worse, you should seek further medical advice immediately.
  3. Help your child to understand - watch this video with them about going to the pharmacy.

For information on common childhood illnesses go to What is wrong with my child?

Health Visitors

Health visitors are nurses or midwives who are passionate about promoting healthy lifestyles and preventing illness through the delivery of the Healthy Child Programme. They work with you through your pregnancy up until your child is ready to start school.

Health Visitors can also make referrals for you to other health professionals for example hearing or vision concerns or to the Community Paediatricians or to the child and adolescent mental health services.

Contact them by phoning your Health Visitor Team or local Children’s Centre.

Sound advice

Health visitors also provide advice, support and guidance in caring for your child, including:

  • Breastfeeding, weaning and healthy eating
  • Exercise, hygiene and safety
  • Your child’s growth and development
  • Emotional health and wellbeing, including postnatal depression
  • Safety in the home
  • Stopping smoking
  • Contraception and sexual health
  • Sleep and behaviour management (including temper tantrums!)
  • Toilet training
  • Minor illnesses

For more information watch the video: What does a health visitor do?

School Nurses

School nurses care for children and young people, aged 5-19, and their families, to ensure their health needs are supported within their school and community. They work closely with education staff and other agencies to support parents, carers and the children and young people, with physical and/or emotional health needs.

Contacting the School Nurse

Primary and secondary schools have an allocated school nurse – telephone your child’s school to ask for the contact details of your named school nurse.

There is also a specialist nurse who works with families who choose to educate their children at home.

Sound Advice

Before your child starts school your health visitor will meet with the school nursing team to transfer their care to the school nursing service. The school nursing team consists of a school nursing lead, specialist public health practitioners and school health staff nurses.

They all have a role in preventing disease and promoting health and wellbeing, by:-

  • encouraging healthier lifestyles
  • offering immunisations
  • giving information, advice and support to children, young people and their families
  • supporting children with complex health needs

Each member of the team has links with many other professionals who also work with children including community paediatricians, child and adolescent mental health teams, health visitors and speech and language therapists. The school health nursing service also forms part of the multi-agency services for children, young people and families where there are child protection or safeguarding issues.

GP (General Practitioner)

GPs assess, treat and manage a whole range of health problems. They also provide health education, give vaccinations and carry out simple surgical procedures. Your GP will arrange a referral to a hospital specialist should you need it.

Sound advice

You have a choice of service:

  1. Doctors/GPs can treat many illnesses that do not warrant a visit to A&E.
  2. Help your child to understand – watch this video with them about visiting the GP or going to a walk in centre

For information on common childhood illnesses go to What is wrong with my child?

NHS 111

If you’re not sure which NHS service you need, call 111. An adviser will ask you questions to assess your symptoms and then give you the advice you need, or direct you straightaway to the best service for you in your area.

Sound advice

Use NHS 111 if you are unsure what to do next, have any questions about a condition or treatment or require information about local health services.

For information on common childhood illnesses go to What is wrong with my child?

Accident and Emergency

A&E departments provide vital care for life-threatening emergencies, such as loss of consciousness, suspected heart attacks, breathing difficulties, or severe bleeding that cannot be stopped. If you’re not sure it’s an emergency, call 111 for advice.

Sound advice

  1. Many visits to A&E and calls to 999 could be resolved by any other NHS services.
  2. If your child's condition is not critical, choose another service to get them the best possible treatment.
  3. Help your child to understand – watch this video with them about going to A&E or riding in an ambulance
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