I Kept My Baby’s Umbilical Cord

umbilical cord
Image via Flickr/ jencu

When the nurses brought my oldest daughter back from the nursery shortly before we were scheduled to be discharged from the hospital, they pointed out all of the items we could take home from her crib.

“Here's her comb,” they said. “And her umbilical cord clamp. We took it off, so her actual umbilical cord should fall off in about a week!”

I nodded dutifully and tucked the clamp away in my “baby book stash” that had already secretly started to accumulate.

After following all of the instructions and carefully cleaning her with a sponge bath, night after night, her umbilical cord finally fell off one day as I towel dried her baby powder-fresh skin.

With no warning, and with such an uneventful end to the life-sustaining part of the literal bond between us, I found myself oddly attached to that little piece of her umbilical cord.

And I didn't know what to do with it. 

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Should I throw it away? Where would I put it? Was it weird that I felt like I couldn't (or shouldn't) throw it away? It was a piece of my baby!

Conflicted, I stuffed her umbilical cord in a little plastic baggie, told myself that it was there if she ever wanted to see proof that she had once actually liked me when the teenage years hit, and promptly forgot about it.

Until recently, when we were going through her baby box (she's 4 now), I was slightly horrified to find the dark, shriveled-up piece of cord. As a mom of three kids now, I can definitely say that I haven't felt the least bit of need to keep my other children's umbilical cords.

But there was just something about my first baby that made me want to treasure each and every part of her babyhood.

And that's not something I regret. Although, I admit, it was kind of weird. 

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How about you? Would you – did you – keep your baby’s umbilical cord?

What do you think?

I Kept My Baby’s Umbilical Cord

Chaunie Brusie is a coffee mug addict, a labor and delivery nurse turned freelance writer, and a young(ish) mom of four. She is the author of "Tiny Blue Lines: Preparing For Your Baby, Moving Forward In Faith, & Reclaiming Your Life In An Unplanned Pregnancy" and "The Moments That Made You A Mother". She also runs Passion Meets Practicality, a community of tips + inspiration for work-at-home mothers. ... More

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9 comments

  1. Profile photo of Jennifer Jennifer says:

    I also kept my daughters umbilical cord and my son. I never had to second guess my decision . My mom kept mine & my sisters . So . It’s was kinda normal for me . lol . ?

  2. Profile photo of Kelly Kelly says:

    i kept all 4 of my babies’ cord stumps :o)

  3. Profile photo of Sara McTigue, CLCEditor Sara McTigue, CLC says:

    Aw – that’s sweet!

  4. Profile photo of Nicki Nicki says:

    I kept our adopted daughter’s umbilical cord! My husband thought I was cuckoo, but I HAD to save it, I think because I let her birthmom keep the hospital bracelets and some other items, I needed something of my own 🙂 Now that I’m expecting our first biological child, I will probably do the same

  5. Profile photo of Stanton Stanton says:

    My mom did, so I did, too. I never thought it was wierd. Parents keep all kinds of things.

  6. My fiance is part Native American – so I’m going to ask him if this is something he’d like to do.

    As for keeping the placenta and the rest – no thanks! My mom didn’t keep mine (all she did was cut off my first curl and then I never grew curls again lol) but that’s just not something that I think I want to keep.

  7. Profile photo of Chaunie Chaunie says:

    So interesting @LovingDaphniSnow, wow!

  8. Profile photo of Marina Marina says:

    I have not delivered yet. I have worked on L&D i the past. We had mother’s request placenta to take home which we honored their request. Not sure if I would keep the stump.

  9. I kept my baby’s umbilical cord. My child’s father is Native American and they believe it is part of your soul. They create beaded animals depending on the child’s sex and sew it in the beanie. 🙂 Mind you, not all tribes participate in this custom.

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