The umbilical cord provided nourishment to your baby throughout your pregnancy. Now he or she has a purplish-blue stump that is about a half inch to an inch long. It will take some time (approximately 2 weeks but occasionally up to 8 weeks) before the stump dries up and falls off. It will take a little care and attention to ensure that both infection and irritation are avoided.
This is characterized by a small nodule of firm pinkish-red tissue (similar to scar tissue) with persistent yellow-green drainage but it is not accompanied by swelling, redness, warmth, tenderness, or a fever. Many times this will go away in a week with the frequent application of rubbing alcohol, or your child's pediatrician can treat this in the office by cauterizing the area. Cauterization includes applying silver nitrate to the area, which burns the tissue. There are no nerve endings in the area, so it is not painful. Liquid nitrogen can also be used to freeze the area. A surgical thread can be tied around the base of the granuloma, which causes it to die and fall off.
There is no way to predict whether you child will have an "innie" or an "outie." Many people believe that taping a coin or other flat object over the navel will help ensure their child has an "innie," but this is not true.
Reprinted with permission from American Pregnancy Association.