Unless a lotus birth is the plan of action, a mother will have to tend to her baby's umbilical cord until it detaches on its own. Typically cut in the hospital immediately after birth, the cord is clamped and quickly begins to shrivel into the newborn's belly button. The appendage usually falls off between 10 to 14 days after birth but can last longer in some cases.
Until then, parents should simply try to keep the bloody stump clean and dry. The best way to achieve this? Sponge baths. Avoid submerging the baby in a full tub and limit cleanings to sponge baths. If the cord appears dirty, a q-tip or damp cotton ball will do the trick.