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What is an umbilical cord tie?

Updated: Jun 28



Newborn baby with cord tie

I’ve had a few people ask me recently about cord ties, so I thought I would get some info together about them and why you may want to consider using one instead of the standard plastic clamp.


SO, firstly… do what ever you want with your babies umbilical cord, there are lots of different options (clamp, tie, cord burning, lotus birth) but for heavens sake make sure your baby has received their full blood compliment and the cord is white and floppy before you cut it.




So now what? So normally your midwife will clamp the cord before it is cut and then you leave the clamp on the cord until the cord eventually dries up and falls off (which usually happens within a week or two.) This is a totally fine option and I honestly thought nothing of it when I had my first baby. BUT round two, I had heard of cord ties and wanted to give one a go. And for me there were so many benefits and for us it was a lot more manageable than the clamp.



Newborn baby with cord clamp

 Here you can see a traditional cord clamp. (I guess maybe traditional is the wrong word isn't it, I assume the tie came along way before the clamp!)














Newborn baby with cord tie

What is a cord tie?


A cord tie is a cord made of wool or cotton (you can get lots of lovely colourful crochet ones!) that you can use to tie off the cord of your baby, to make sure no blood escapes. Normally your HCP will clamp the cord before it is cut, and then you can tie the cord on the baby side of the clamp, before removing the clamp. So just make sure if you are planning to use one that your midwife has left enough space so you can fit it in.


(lovely newborn with cord tie, shared with permission! )




What are the benefits of using a cord tie?


  • They are easier to manage than the plastic clamp as they are much less bulky. When you are changing nappes with the clamp you have to be quite aware not to pull it and make sure it is out of the way.


  • They look lovely – much less clinical than the clamp

  • This one is just a guess, but I imagine they are more comfortable for the baby. When they are all scrunched up cuddling you, lying on their tummy, it must not be that comfy having a plastic clamp digging in, I imagine a cotton tie is much more comfy and gentle for them.


  • More environmentally friendly than a plastic clamp


I just found I could snuggle, hold her and change nappies without being as aware of accidentally pulling on the cord, for us as a family it was way easier and nicer than the clamp.


Risks of using a cord tie

 

  • The main risk would be tying it incorrectly and having some blood leak out through the cord before the cord starts to dry.  However they are really very easy to tie, there are just a few main points to be aware of, and I’ll share a link of the wonderful independent midwife Debs Neiger talking through exactly how to tie one correctly.


  • Sometimes there seems to be a worry about infection, but I don’t really see how this would be any more of a risk with a tie than with a clamp, and there is no research showing that there is an increase risk of infection.




newborn baby crying with cord tie

Where can I get one?


You can make one yourself just using a length of organic wool or cotton, or you can buy one! There are loads of really cute ones on Etsy, this one is made by Artisan Alley


(Another lovely newborn shared with permission!)







 

How do you tie it?


The main thing to be aware of is that it is nice and tight. Tie it about 4cms away from baby’s tummy and just make sure it is really secure. Maybe have this video handy to show your midwife if you want someone else to tie it, or just do it yourself. It is really very simple, I was a bit nervous about it but even in a post birth haze my doula and I managed it easily!




 

Et voila! You have yourself a very lovely looking umbilical cord, that is much easier to handle!

 

We cover all of this wonderful post birth stuff on my Hypnobirthing Antenatal course, and if you are local and you want a lovely doula to tie your cord (as well as give great antenatal, birth and postnatal support) come and find me for a doula chat! I am looking pretty booked up for the rest of this year but still have some availability late autumn/winter.


 



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