Re-reading through my earlier post about Delayed Cord Clamping, got me thinking about alternatives to the plastic umbilical clamps routinely used in Australia. You know those little peg like clamps that look huge compared to your tiny little bub, and just seem to dangle there, leaving you wondering how on earth it could possibly not be annoying? (or maybe that’s just me?!)
The plastic clamps are a great solution for clamping, but some families choose other methods, for various reasons.
Below is a brief overview of some alternatives you may wish to consider.
Umbilical Cord Burning
Burning the umbilical cord is exactly that – severing the cord using the flame from a candle.
It’s origins are said to lie with
traditional Chinese medicine, and the belief that ” the placenta holds the Ch’i (life force) of the baby and by heating the cord it sends that Ch’i to the baby and he is therefore “warmed” by this energy. It is preferable they have this warmth or heat at birth. Cord burning provides this warm energy. It will reduce the risk of bleeding and entry of infections. You are warming digestion which will reduce the tendency for jaundice, besides just creating a strong baby which means a good nurser.”
The practice of cord burning is slow and peaceful, taking anywhere up to around 15 minutes. The flame gradually cauterises the cord, and it’s a great way for many people to take part in the usually ceremonious act of ‘cutting’ the cord.
After the cord is severed, the cord
will dry out as normal and fall off within a few days.
This article contains some great pictures showing the burning of the umbilical cord, as well as outlining how to do it safely, and also has a link to a video of a beautiful birth, where you can also see cord burning taking place.
Cord Ties seem to be the newest trend in the birthing room, although tying of the cord has been practiced for thousands of years.
Using a cord tie is simply tying a length of string or cotton or similar tightly around the umbilical cord, after it’s stopped pulsating, in place of a plastic clamp. If the cord needs to be clamped immediately, you can use a cord tie after and simply have the cla
mp removed later.
You can buy beautiful handcrafted cord ties from Melbourne Doula, or you may wish to make your own by either crocheting or plaiting a length of embroidery thread.
Although the tie does not need to be sterile, if you wish to sterilise it you could boil the tie, and then place it in an envelope or freezer bag and seal it.
It’s good practice to keep the tie short too, and to try and keep it out of the babies nappy, although I know babies have a habit of letting things escape the nappy entirely!
This video shows a cord tie being used.
I decided to invoke my inner craft goddess and make one for the birth of my nephew. Unfortunately we didn’t get a great photo, but here he is wearing his spare pink one, after the midwife snipped off the blue one I’d made!
Lotus birth is the practice of leaving the umbilical cord uncut after childbirth so that the baby is left attached to the placenta until the cord naturally separates at the umbilicus, usually a few days after birth.
The baby, cord, and placenta are treated as one essentially, until the separation occurs naturally.
At birth, the placenta is kept at the same level as the baby, in order to allow for a full transfusion of the blood still within the placenta. The placenta may be rinsed off and then wrapped in a clean cloth, or sat in a basket of some sort. Often a blend of herbs and salt may be applied to improve the drying process and to minimise any odour. The cord will dry out, but remains flexible enough to continue moving baby about as needed. Some parents use a wrap with a pocket to hold the placenta with baby, or you can buy a placenta bag here.
Did you use one of these methods when your baby was born? Or something entirely different?
I’d love to hear from you! Send me a message or post here on facebook!