Monday, April 22, 2013

Burn, Baby, Burn.

It's Monday. Yes. Yes, it is. We are currently outside having a picnic and poor Norah is crying herself to sleep because she is just too tired and cranky to eat. Bless her little heart. Let me tell you about an interesting tradition that greatly intrigued the girls last night...

Cord Burning
This is a technique that we heard about quite some time ago and and I quickly declared that we would use it if we ever found ourselves expecting baby #3. Wasn't that lucky? ;) Cord burning began--to my knowledge. I looked for more history, but found none. I would love if anyone has something else to share!--in Thailand after the horrific tsunami that rocked our entire world. Tetanus was rampant and newborns were dying from infections of all kinds. Some midwives had the idea to burn the umbilical cords in lieu of cutting them with surgical scissors. Burning the cord cauterizes an otherwise open wound, virtually eliminating the deadly infections and saving precious lives! Just think about this: for 40-ish weeks, your baby has received 100% of its nutrition from this cord, an open passage between the placenta and its abdomen. When baby is born, this passage becomes an open wound, if you will. This is why many people are now choosing lotus births, which is where you leave the baby completely attached to the placenta until it dries up and falls off on its own. I the case of cord burning, you place some sort of barrier between the baby and the candles. Often, this is as simple as a piece of cardboard large enough to cover all of baby's abdomen with a cord-sized slit cut into it to allow the cord to be in a natural position. When the cord has completely stopped pulsating and is void of that wonderfully nutrient-rich blood, mom will likely have delivered the placenta. After this has taken place, people have different preferences on when to sever the cord, but none are the "correct" way, just personal preference. The barrier is put into position and two taper candles are lit. This can be a very sentimental and symbolic act. Our daughters will help Ryan and our midwife perform this task. ❤ The flames are positioned about six inches away from the baby and will begin to cauterize the cord. This process can take up to fifteen minutes. There should also be a bowl of some kind underneath the burning area, as there are often fluids in the cord and parts of the cord will liquefy. There will be some hissing and popping, along with a mild odor--all things that come with burning of any sort. The baby is typically very alert and calm during this process. When you are finished, the cord will be longer than you would see in the hospital, but you will find that it dries up and falls off VERY quickly! I have heard reports from friends of cords falling off around days three and four. I can deal with pretty much any bulky inconvenience to have a cord that falls off in less than a week! :) I am very excited to experience this (new?) technique and hope to see it become a major trend in birth. It just makes good sense. A great site with more information is This midwife is apparently credited with bringing this technique to the United States. Google also has some great photos if you search "cord burning". Try YouTube, as well! I think many people will be intrigued by this process and I will be sure to thoroughly document our experience and share it!

Now for a Monday Meme I created this morning! I don't have any personal experience with this...
(^Those are my shifty eyes.)


  1. That's a really interesting idea! I've heard of it but never considered actually doing it. I could barely get M to cut the cord for E. Love that the girls want to help!

  2. Ryan loved doing it. :) Kirsten is half grossed out/half excited. We will see what they do when it's time to burn. ;)