Delayed cord separation does not have a specific definition, primarily because of the variation in normal cord separation. In general, any cord that persists after three weeks probably represents delayed cord separation. Delayed cord separation can be associated with underlying immunodeficiency, infection, or urachal abnormality. Neutrophil function should be evaluated in infants with delayed cord separation and signs of umbilical infection because infants with leukocyte adhesion defects often present with these findings.
Rubbing alcohol should not be applied to the cord as it may kill bacteria that assist in cord drying and separation. Drying of the cord may be helped by keeping the diaper folded below the cord, thereby exposing the cord to air.