Friday, 7 February 2014

How to make your own umbilical cord ties

I hadn't thought of making my own cord ties until my midwife mentioned it. There isn't that much information about it on the internet so I thought I'd write something about it.

I didn't like the plastic cord clip used on my first baby. I found it very obtrusive and it got in the way during nappy changes. So when my midwife mentioned making my own cord ties I was very interested. I asked her how to do it and I also looked for information online. I couldn't find much about it though. Just a few mentions on forums and someone selling them on an online selling website.

So this is what I did.

I bought some embroidery thread in various colours. I used six lengths of thread per tie. I cut the threads to about 12"/30cm each, gathered together and tied them together with a knot at one end. Then I fastened the knotted end to my trousers with a safety pin, so it would pull tight as I plaited. I then divided the threads into three sections of two threads each and plaited until they were about 6"/15cm long. Then I tied a knot in that end, trimmed the threads and detached from my trousers.

I made a few different coloured ones. Pink, red, green, blue. I was going to do some multi-coloured ones too, but ran out of time in the end! I thought it would be nice for my five year old, Lucinda, to choose which colour ties to use at the time as she was also looking forward to cutting the cord.

When I'd finished making them, I boiled them for a few minutes and then put in a sandwich bag in the freezer until it was time to use them. This process sterilises them.

So, when the time came, Lucinda chose a green one and a pink one. The pink one was tied closest to the tummy and the green one a couple of inches further down. The cord was cut inbetween the ties, leaving the pink one attached. The result was much more attractive than the plastic clips that most of us are used to. It looked quite pretty, more personalised and definitely didn't get in the way like plastic ones do when you're trying to clean baby and fasten a nappy around it. It must have been more comfortable for baby too.

This is the cord stump with the cord tie attached at two days old.

I am so glad I found out about hand made cord ties. It was an enjoyable pregnancy activity and was something I could involve my young daughter in too. She was made to feel important and more a part of the birth by having the job of choosing the ties and cutting the cord.

* * * * *

If you like the idea of handmade cord ties but don't want to make them yourself, you might like to follow the Etsy banner link at the top of the page and visit my shop. I have some listed there or contact me with your requirements.


  1. Just a note on sterilizing: the technique in the article would cause the cord tie to be sterile but the inside of the baggy isn't so it would no longer be sterile after you put it in there. The freezer isn't necessary to maintaining sterility either. A better plan if you are going to sterilize the cord tie is to place it in a plain envelope and tape over all the edges with masking tape. Place it in the oven at 150 degrees for 2.5 hours. Do not open the oven during the process. Then you can remove it and store wherever, as long as the envelope doesn't tear (I store mine in a zip lock to protect from accidental tears).

    1. Thank you. That's very helpful. x

  2. Would it work if you used a sterile breastmilk storage bag in the freezer?

  3. Thank you so much for your post. My son just did his eagle scout project making lay-midwife kits to send to Haiti that includes 2 umbilical cord ties. 10 of us gathered around a table and braided 60 ties. Your instructions were great.

  4. i have a question regarding the sterilisation. can you just boil it and leave it to dry and then store it. is it going to be ok? I heard some people used dental floss for securing the umbilical cord after birth surely that is not sterile. Also i saw in Africa they just use general tie like for knitting just very fine. is this trying in over really necessary? just wondering. I plan on making my own ties from embroidery threads.

  5. Cotton, flax or whatever material used for cord ties DO NOT require sterilisation. Babies are not sterile, nappies are not sterile and neither is a plastic cord clamp once out of the packet. ��

    1. Yes, I know, thanks. I wrote this post nearly three years ago

  6. Interesting!
    I was searching for a crochet heart pattern for my blog and look where I landed!
    I'm your fellow crocheter from: