Newborn babies umbilical cord usually dries up and heels anywhere from 10 days and 3 weeks. The umbilical cord will initially be white to yellow in color and gradually darken to a black color before falling off. Until the umbilical cord falls off there are some things you should do to help keep it clean and dry.
You should avoid immersing your baby in water, instead giving a sponge bath, until the umbilical cord falls off. Some doctors recommend cleansing the umbilical cord area with rubbing alcohol. This can be easily be done with rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab or alcohol wipes.
The most important thing to remember is to keep the area clean and dry. Keep baby's diaper folded away from the umbilical cord area until the umbilical cord falls off. Wash your hands prior to cleaning the umbilical cord and after diaper changes.
If you notice a foul odor, reddening around the area, or drainage contact your pediatrician as this may be a sign of infection.