Are you looking for an alternative to modern cord clamping and cutting with scissors? Perhaps you would like to slow down the process of mother baby separation. Do other family members want to be a part of this moment? Maybe cord burning is the perfect option for you and your family.
Cord burning is definitely not a new 'fad' in fact is was practiced in 'old China' where it was believed to help move the Qui (Chi) from the placenta to the baby.
“By heating the cord and driving the last of the blood through there you are giving a profoundly tonic treatment for the baby who has just run a marathon…. Cord burning reduces 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.” ~ Dr. Joseph Kassal, ND
Cord burning was actually relied upon in Sumatra after the 2004 tsunami when hospitals were swept away along with medical and sterilizing equipment. Midwives were taught the old practice which saved the lives of many babies. http://www.cordburning.com/
Why choose cord burning?
- Allows baby to receive the full benefit of optimal cord clamping.
- Slows the separation process down, keeps the birth atmosphere calm and intentional - takes between 5-10 mins for the cord to be severed.
- Allows others to be involved in the ritual ie older siblings, both parents even Grandparents.
- No bulky plastic cord clip to work around.
- As the flame cauterizes the cord there is no risk of infection.
- The umbilical stump tends to dry and come away faster.
- Parents have the option for a semi lotus birth as cord burning can be performed many hours or even the following day after birth.
- Placenta encapsulation is still possible after cord burning.
Here older siblings are involved with the cord burning ceremony - welcoming their new baby.
Supplies need for cord burning
- 2 taper (long) candles
- matches or a lighter
- something to catch the wax in
- something to protect the baby from heat
- optional: a ceremonial box - there are some beautifully handcrafted 'burn boxes' some families use for each of their children, becomes a treasured keepsake or heirloom.
Here you can see a 'burn box' being used - it has little cut outs for the candles to be placed in and the cord to lie across.
- Place the baby of it's side (helps reduce the length of the remaining cord.
- Wrap the baby with a thick towel or place a barrier between the baby and the flame (alfoil covered cardboard can be used also)
- Please the lit candles under the thin cord and let the process begin.
- As the cord begins to blacken and thin the cord can be twisted to ensure even burning.
- After the cord has separated be careful not to let the hot end touch the baby. If the remaining cord is long it can be looped into a knot to shorten.
The cord stump will dry and shorten over hte next day or so and tend to come away soon than a clamped cord does.
The burnt cord allowing to cool.
Cord burning is easily achievable in a home birth situation, but with planning and communication can be carried out after a hospital birth also - keeping the placenta attached to baby (lotus birth) and performing the burning ceremony when you return home.
- Lim, Robin. Placenta - The Forgotten Chakra, Bali, Half Angel Press, 2015.
- Retrieved 8th February 2017, from www.gentlebirth.org
- Retrieved 8th February 2017, fromhttp://www.cordburning.com/
- image credit: Victoria Berekmeri, Adelaide Birth Photography www.adelaidebirthphotographer.com.au