Childbirth can be intense. First, you need to survive a pregnancy filled with morning sickness, back pain and cankles. Then, there are those first contractions followed by the pushing and the breathing and the baby that comes out in a wave of blood and vernix and — sometimes! — even poop. And just when you think you’re done, out comes the placenta.
You’d be forgiven for wanting to take a break from icky body oddities after that.
But then you have to deal with your baby’s umbilical stump, the part of the umbilical cord that remains attached to your newborn’s body after the cord is cut. This stump dries out over time and eventually falls off within one to three weeks. But before that, it just looks weird, and can even smell a little funky.
I remember that I could not wait for my daughter’s stump to fall off. But apparently, not everyone is as squeamish as I am.
In 2012, Hilary Duff gave birth to Luca Cruz. At the time, she told People magazine that, though her husband thought it was gross, she secretly kept the baby’s umbilical stump, putting it in a plastic baggie and hiding it in the back of her makeup drawer. And she’s not alone. According to a poll in the Mothering forums, nearly 37 percent of readers saved their baby’s stump.
Meanwhile, WhatToExpect.com has a fun list of suggestions for what to do with the stump, including the simplest option — putting it into a baggie and taping it into a baby book — along with some ideas that are a bit more unique, like transforming it into a piece of artwork, or even burying it in the tradition of some Native American cultures.
And then, of course, there’s the jewelry.
For those who want to keep a (literal) piece of their baby as close to their heart as possible, there are a number of jewelers out there who incorporate breast milk, hair, placenta and even the umbilical stump into their creations.
For example, A La Avra offers a $195 umbilical cord necklace, in which the stump is sealed in resin and set in sterling silver. The shape of the setting is informed by the shape of the stump, making each necklace one-of-a-kind:
Lait de la Vie gives you the option of putting any number of inclusions into their jewelry, including the aforementioned organic objects. You can hide that stump in this $130 14kt gold ring, for example:
This $80 gem ring from Speckled Milk also allows for any number of inclusions:
And I cannot look away from this $75 Honey Love pendant from Baby’s Breath Birth that also allows for organic inclusions:
If all of this makes you feel a bit squeamish, no matter the loveliness of the setting, you can also just send off your stump and get back a replica so that you’re not actually wearing a fallen-off piece of your baby’s body. Check out this $144.99 pendant from Etsy seller rockmyworldinc:
Do you save the cord or toss it? And if you keep it — would you wear it?