The Doctors: What Does a Belly Button Do & Umbilical Stump Tips


The Doctors: What Is A Belly Button For

Young Max asked The Doctors what his Belly Button is for. He is probably six or seven, and he understands the purpose of other body parts, like the Eyes and Ears. But he doesn’t get what’s up with his Belly Button. It’s a fair question, and Dr. Lisa Masterson explained that the answer starts (and ends) with the Umbilical Cord.

The Drs: Baby Belly Button Care

Learn how to care for your baby's Umbilical Stump, and the purpose of your Belly Button.


Umbilical Cord Belly Button Scar

“When you’re in the mother’s womb, there’s an Umbilical Cord,” funneling blood and oxygen from mother to baby through the Placenta. When the baby is born, an Obstetrician will clamp the Umbilical Cord, leaving a few centimeters behind.

Basically, the Belly Button has no practical use, other than as a lint trap, once you have emerged from the womb.

How The Umbilical Cord Falls Off

You apparently take your baby home with its dangling Umbilical Stump still attached. Over one to three weeks, the jelly-like cord nub will turn into a beef jerky consistency, according to pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears. Babies are gross!


Eventually, the Umbilical Cord will fall off by itself, but not before possibly changing colors and oozing blood. But if your baby is oozing Umbilical Cord blood for more than a few days, you are supposed to alert your doctor.

The belly button is actually a glorified scar left over from childbirth. But that doesn’t really explain the ins and outs of Innies and Outies.

The Drs TV: Dos & Don’ts For Umbilical Stump

Dr. Jim Sears offered advice for parents of newborns when dealing with the Umbilical Stump.

  • Keep it clean. But don’t use rubbing alcohol. Use soap and water.
  • Keep it dry. Don’t bathe your baby until the cord falls off. Also, keep the cord nub exposed to air.
  • Don’t mess with it. Pulling the cord could cause additional bleeding.

The Doctors: Umbilical Cord Vs Belly Button

To review, the Umbilical Cord provides nutrients to a fetus during gestation. At birth, the cord is clipped, leaving an unsightly nub that will eventually become the consistency of dried beef jerky, before falling off and leaving the Belly Button, which is really just a scar so common it has its own name.


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