Cleaning an umbilical cord after birth with alcohol has been a tradition for many years. Research studies have shown that dry cord care (no alcohol or other disinfecting agents) can also be a viable alternative as long as you watch for signs of umbilical cord infection: foul-smelling discharge, redness of the skin around the umbilical cord, swelling of the area, or generalized illness in your baby.
Whether or not to use alcohol varies from doctor to doctor and institution to institution. You should follow the recommendations of the hospital where your baby was born and your pediatrician as to how to care for your baby's umbilical cord. By following their recommendations, you will know what to expect and have detailed instructions about how to do it.
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