The umbilical cord should be cleaned with either hydrogen peroxide or alcohol. Which you use will be determined by your practitioner's preference or what you have handy. Some doctor's and midwives say to start with alcohol and only go to hydrogen peroxide if you need something more drying.
The first step in actual umbilical cord care is to gather up your supplies. You will need either cotton swabs or cotton balls and a solution like hydrogen peroxide or alcohol. It's also handy to have the baby with you. Most parents choose to do cord care during diaper changes.
Undress your baby, exposing the cord area. Remember these solutions can stain your baby's clothing. You will dip the cotton swab or cotton ball into the solution to wet it thoroughly.
Photo © Robin Elise Weiss