I chose cord burning as our means of separating bubs from his placenta because I thought it was a lovely, gentle ritual that all the family could be involved in if they chose to. Our homebirth midwives were great and left us alone as a family for the 5 hours after birth and came back later in the afternoon once we'd burned the cord to do the all important weigh in and measuring. There was no need to clamp or tie the cord as the burning cauterises during the process.
It took about 10 minutes for the cord to burn through, with a couple of hisses and pops from the cord gasses. There wasn't a bad smell as some worry about. I had planned on getting some nice taper candles and a wooden box (like this one) but time ran out on me so we just used standard house candles and a pyrex bowl to catch the wax. Once he was separated from his cord, our placenta went into the fridge to be encapsulated the next day and everyone else had their first cuddles.
The end of the cord did leave some soot on bubs and his clothes and became a little sharp once the cord started to dry but we were able to coil it so it sat over his nappy. I'd certainly choose to do it again and wish I'd known about it for my other children.
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Kelly Harper is the owner of Elemental Beginnings Doula & Placenta Services in Adelaide. She provides placenta encapsulation and doula services to families during pregnancy, birth and in their fourth trimester.