The bond between you and your baby develops and grows immensely during the 9 months you carry them in your womb. You have an intense emotional connection to this tiny being before they are even born. And in that time, the umbilical cord is what connects the two of you physically and transmits nutrients to your little love.

After you give birth, many mommas don’t realize that they have the option of keeping that precious, life-giving umbilical cord. And even if you don’t have the umbilical cord, when your baby’s umbilical stump falls off, this is another memento from the time your baby was in your womb that you just might want to save.

While it’s true, some mommas might think saving their baby’s umbilical cord or stump is a little nutso, more and more mommas are finding creative and meaningful ways to create a keepsake with it.

I’m sure a lot of you are more familiar with what to do with your placenta after birth, but there are just as many cool ideas of what to do with baby’s umbilical cord! Just a few include framing it, putting it in a memory book, having it made into jewelry, or putting it into lovey for your baby.

Read on for more inspiration!

10 Things to Do With Baby’s Umbilical Cord or Cord Stump

1. Frame it or incorporate it into a piece of art

Your baby’s umbilical cord or stump can be used to create a beautiful and meaningful piece of art for the nursery or your own bedroom. If you have the whole cord, before drying it, you can shape it into a heart, the word love, or another pretty design. If you only have the stump, it can still be put in a frame and made to look beautiful.

Along with the cord or cord stump, you could add a quote about motherhood, how much you love your baby, one simple word, your baby’s name, or even their birth stats.

If you are planning on having more than one baby, or already have a stockpile of cords, you can incorporate the cords or cord stumps from all of your baby’s into one beautiful picture.

2. Put it in a keepsake shadow box from baby’s birth

Another take on framing your baby’s dried umbilical cord or cord stump is to put in a shadow box along with other meaningful items from the day of their birth.

You might put in the first onesie or hat they wore, photos from the special day, and any other things you associate with the birth. You could also put in items from the pregnancy itself, like ultrasound pictures.

This shadow box will make a great decoration in your baby’s room, in your own bedroom, or just preserved a keepsake.

3. Have it made into jewelry

I keep learning more and more about the beautiful jewelry that can be made from things like breastmilk, placenta, ashes, and yes—umbilical cord! You can send your umbilical cord to jewelry designers who create charms, rings, earrings, and pendants using the actual cord in the pieces.

You can then wear a piece of what connected you and your baby literally for 9 months and feel the constant connection continue. I also love the idea of charms or stacking rings created from the umbilical cord, placenta, and breastmilk. How special to celebrate these amazing things that your body did as a momma!

If wearing a piece of the actual cord feels strange, you can have an exact replica of your baby’s cord made into a metal charm to be worn instead.

4. Save it in a scrapbook or baby book

If you are planning to create a scrapbook or use a baby book to celebrate your baby’s first year (or beyond!) the umbilical cord can be a great addition. You might put it on a page where you record your birth story or fill in baby’s birth stats.

5. Plant it below a special plant or tree

One way to memorialize your baby’s umbilical cord without actually preserving it is to bury it in a place of honor on your property or a special outdoor space.

You could then plant a special perennial or a tree on top of the cord as a way to celebrate this life-giving item. Another way to honor the spot you bury the cord is with a plaque or homemade stepping stone.

6. Put it inside a stuffed lovey

Keep your baby close and connected, metaphorically, by putting their umbilical cord stump into a stuffed toy or lovey. First, put the cord stump into a satchel or plastic baggie, then put it inside the stuffed item.

If you like to sew or knit, you could create something unique just for your baby. If you are reading this before giving birth, this could be a fun project to do before baby is born! Just hold onto it and add the umbilical cord to the center (along with some stuffing) as the final touch.

Alternatively, you can buy a cute stuffy and carefully pull some of the stitching along a seam. Then add the cord and do a simple stitch to close it back up.

7. Make a unique ornament

Christmas ornaments are a great way to preserve all kinds of things throughout your child’s life, and their umbilical cord is no exception. Preserving the cord inside a clear, ball shaped ornament will work well. Every year it will have a place on your tree and you can remember the special time when you birthed your baby.

8. Preserve it in a keepsake box

A simple option of what to do with your baby’s umbilical cord when you want to save it but aren’t sure about the rest of these ideas is to put it in a special keepsake box.

Maybe it’s a box you decorate yourself, a metal box engraved with their birth date and stats, a delicate personalized glass box, or a pretty wooden box with a mother and child on it. I’m swooning over that last one!

9. Take photos of baby with your cord, then dispose of the cord

If you really aren’t keen on the idea of keeping the umbilical cord but want to celebrate it, take some beautiful photos of your newborn with their cord.

If you decide to hire a professional birth photographer, they might have experience with some shots like this, but you can also totally achieve this on your own.

10. Keep your baby’s cord blood in private storage or donate your cord

Choosing to keep your baby’s cord blood is appealing to some families because this blood is full of stem cells that can be used later on to grow tissues and organs, treat disease and more (source). If you birth in a hospital, you can choose to donate your cord to a public bank or have it privately banked for your own use.

If you are interested in delayed cord clamping, which offers a variety of immediate benefits to baby after birth, there is usually not a lot of blood left in the cord to be banked and it likely won’t be accepted by a public cord blood bank. However, some private banks will allow you to store even a small amount of cord blood.

In the event of a home birth, you will not be permitted to donate the cord to a public bank, because shared banks only accept cords from accredited hospitals. But, you can still opt to have your cord blood stored privately if you wish. (source)

What’s an umbilical cord tie?

On the topic of celebrating your baby’s umbilical cord, let’s talk about the adorable-ness that are umbilical cord ties. Most of us are familiar with the yellow or white plastic clamps that are used to clamp the end of baby’s cord stump after their umbilical cord has been cut. But, before these plastic clamps came around, baby’s cord stumps were tied off with a bit of string.

Today, you can make or buy a pretty, crocheted umbilical cord tie to tie off your baby’s cord. You should discuss this plan with your provider before giving birth, but in general, it is considered safe for full-term babies as long as they are sterilized prior to use.

How do I preserve an umbilical cord?

So, now that you’re all excited about what you are going to do with your baby’s umbilical cord after birth, let’s talk about how to preserve it. It’s actually pretty straightforward.

  1. You want to make sure you keep the cord stored in a cool place until you are ready to preserve it. A plastic bag in the fridge is perfect. Within 1-2 days you should begin the preservation process so that the cord doesn’t start to rot
  2. Clean the entire cord using a cotton ball and alcohol
  3. Next, you need a piece of cardboard to arrange your cord on. Many people like to arrange their cord in a heart shape, swirl, or write the word ‘love’ in cursive. It’s important to get the cord in the exact shape you want because once it dries you will not be able to adjust it
  4. Let the cord dry out on the cardboard in a well ventilated area. This will take 3-7 days
  5. Once your cord is completely dry it is ready to be used in any of the ways described above


How to care for an umbilical cord stump?

As for the cord stump, most pediatricians now recommend that you do very little to care for the cord stump. Basically, you just want to keep the area dry and expose it to air as much as possible to help it dry out.

Typically, the cord stump will fall off on its own in 7-14 days. If you have any concerns about infection or there is bleeding at the site of the cord stump, be sure to contact your pediatrician. (source)

Once the cord stump falls off on its own, you can keep it and use it in one of the ways mentioned above.

What are your thoughts on saving baby’s umbilical cord?

Maybe you still think it’s totally weird, or maybe one of the 10 ideas on this list really spoke to you. What are you going to do with your baby’s umbilical cord or cord stump?

Does the idea of umbilical cord jewelry actually sound pretty cool? Or maybe your leaning towards a framed piece of art? Let us know in the comments below!

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