Navel infection in newborns


When the newborn baby’s umbilical cord is cut off, it takes up to two weeks for the umbilicus to dry and fall off. It will then turn black and may smell a bit bad. Sometimes the navel becomes infected and then needs to be treated.

When the navel infection is treated, it usually heals in a few days. Without treatment, the infection can spread in the body and cause the child to become seriously ill.

It is important to look a little extra at the navel until it has healed, and that everyone who takes in the baby has clean hands. Read more about how to care for a newborn baby.

Symptoms of navel infection in newborn

If the child has a navel infection, it is common to

  • the skin in and around the navel becomes red and swollen
  • there is a yellow and smelly liquid from the navel.

If the infection spreads, the child may become dull, irritated and lose appetite. The child may also have a fever or greyish skin.

When should I seek care?

If you suspect the child has a navel infection, contact the child care center.

If the child has a fever or feels ill, you should immediately seek care at a health care center or on-call reception.

If you are wondering about the navel and its care, you can contact the childcare center, BVC.

Treatment for navel infection in newborn

If your navel has become infected, you can primarily wash with chlorhexidine alcohol, which you can buy at a pharmacy. If it does not help with washing, antibiotics may be needed.

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