Research has revealed a long list of unusual practices when it comes to caring for and keeping newborn babies’ umbilical cords.
Findings revealed everything from filling the wound with salt or honey and rubbing earth on the cord to more traditional but outdated methods such as putting a penny on the cord or cleaning it with pure alcohol, talcum powder or surgical spirit.
The survey of more than 1,000 parents also flagged up some unusual things to do with the cord, including turning it into cufflinks, putting it in a frame and planting it alongside a tree to mark the baby’s birth. Some mums also reported having heard of parents who turned the cord and placenta into pâté and ate it after the birth.
The survey found that 72% of mums were not shown how to care for their baby’s cord before the birth and were confused about how best to tend to it. Some parents reported cleaning the cord wound regularly, some cleaning it at bath time and some not cleaning it at all. Almost 70% of parents surveyed said they felt nervous when touching or cleaning the cord wound and one third were surprised by its fragility.
The research was commissioned by Huggies, which has recently introduced the Umbilical Cord Cut Out newborn size one nappy. The company has also set up www.cordcare.com, a website which provides information on cord care, as well as top tips from midwifery expert Nikki Khan.