Lotus Birth, yay or nay? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 02-16-2011, 07:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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For those of you who have done a lotus birth (or considered it), would you do it again?

There are many things I like about the idea but I have some reservations:

*this baby will be born in the peak of summer heat, we have no ac

*when family comes to visit I want all the vibes the baby receives from them to be positive. For the baby's sake I don't want anyone to be grossed out by something associated with their body during this precious and joyful time

*I would like to encapsulate the placenta

*will the baby being still attached physically get in the way of already tricky things like establishing bf, ec, skin to skin time, sleep etc?

Thanks ladies!

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#2 of 22 Old 02-16-2011, 05:56 PM
 
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I did only a semi-lotus. We cut the cord after the placenta was delivered. For me, I felt that the symbolism of cutting the cord before the placenta came out would look like severing the connection between the baby's body and mine. And my lifetime of observing animals made me feel like after the placenta was born, there was no real use for it- other animals either eat the placenta (cats, rabbits) or leave it where it lays (cows, sheep, deer, the cord breaks as the baby falls). I do like the idea of total non-violence, and just plain not cutting anything off the baby.

 

I do not think you can encapsulate the placenta after the 3-10 days it might take for the cord to fall away. It is basically a piece of meat, and it would be "bad" by then. (I may be wrong about this.)  I've heard of folks packing the placenta either in salt, or in ice, with a lunchbox-style cooler left partially open. But mostly I've heard of people wrapping it in a clean dry diaper and keeping it in a bowl close to the baby. I've also heard that one of the best things about a lotus birth is that it creates a good environment for a "lying in" time or "babymoon". If you plan to mostly snuggle in bed and at home that first week, having the placenta as an anchor can be ok. If you plan to be up & about you'll need someone to carry the placenta right behind you while you carry the baby, or maybe you could put it in a bucket with a handle, or a tote bag with a shoulder strap.

 

One thing about doing a lotus birth, is you can decide at any time, enough is enough. If it starts to stink, if it becomes a hassle, or if you decide for any reason, you can cut the cord. You can't "uncut" it though, obviously.

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#3 of 22 Old 02-16-2011, 07:30 PM
 
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With #2, I thought I might want to do a lotus birth. But when the time came, I couldn't face the hassle, quite honestly. It felt very natural and not violent to cut the cord once it was white and limp (we didn't cut it for at least an hour after birth, I would say), so I was happy with my decision.


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#4 of 22 Old 02-17-2011, 06:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm leaning toward leaving the cord intact for 3-4 hrs. ( I read the placenta is still okay to consume up to 4 hrs.) and then using my intuition to sort of ask the baby what is right. I will probably cut it but would like to be prepared to go either way, as in gather lotus birth supplies before hand just in case.

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#5 of 22 Old 02-17-2011, 08:24 AM
 
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Originally Posted by boater View Post

*when family comes to visit I want all the vibes the baby receives from them to be positive. For the baby's sake I don't want anyone to be grossed out by something associated with their body during this precious and joyful time


I consider myself pretty crunchy & I find lotus birth kinda gross. I would bet at least 99% of my friends & family would also feel it's gross. Of course if a friend of mine did it, I'd do my best to 'hide' my feelings, but I personally wouldn't bet that there still wouldn't be some "vibes" of feeling disgusted or overall "weirded-out" that would be hard to conceal fully. 

 

Another thing to consider is that it might actually be uncomfortable - or even painful - for baby if it gets jostled (& therefore irritates baby at the belly button.) I would imagine a bit of jostling would be quite difficult to avoid over the course of days with, as you said, EC, BFing, general movement (passing baby to others to hold.)

 

Once the cord is white & blood flow has ceased, how is it different from cutting hair or fingernails? Just like hair & fingernails, it is not "living" tissue anymore, right? So I can't see how it could possibly be "violent." 

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#6 of 22 Old 02-17-2011, 08:33 AM
 
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If leaving the placenta attached more than a couple hours, you would want to wrap it up neat and pretty, maybe wrap the cord too. I wouldn't use the placenta for consumption if it was left attached like that. My preference is to leave it just until after the first feeding session to ease that birth transition a bit.

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#7 of 22 Old 02-17-2011, 09:13 AM
 
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I would have a hard time feeling OK with doing an encapsulation for someone who had their placenta out for 3-4 hours w/out refrigeration. It starts body temperature and then sits in room temperature for that long. Thinking food handling, for meats, that wouldn't pass the test.

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#8 of 22 Old 02-17-2011, 10:00 AM
 
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We planned a lotus birth with ds, and ended up cutting the cord after 36 hours.  At that point it has dried out and hard.  We cut it because it seemed to be pulling on him, and I didn't allow it to dry in a good direction.  It starts to dry very quickly so you need to decide quite soon how you want everything arranged.  I wish I could have consumed the placenta.  This time I will be cutting the cord after the placenta is out and the cord is really done, maybe an hour or two after the birth.

 

I respect lotus birth and it doesn't gross me out, but I want to encapsulate the placenta.  I have paid careful attention to several babies having their cords clamped or cut and I honestly didn't see anything that would make me think it upset them.  Maybe if the birth was not gentle and it was cut right away it would be upsetting, but I think if baby is doing well and is done using the cord for blood, they can be fine with it being cut.


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#9 of 22 Old 02-25-2011, 04:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone else?

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#10 of 22 Old 02-25-2011, 10:52 AM
 
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With DS1 we waited until the placenta was delivered, and then we candled the cord to separate it, instead of cutting it (google "cord candling" if you're curious).  It is believed to return heat to the body, and was a slow and (for us) ceremonial way of severing DS's tie from the placenta, once the placenta had left my body.

 

I also, quite frankly, can't imagine not eating or encapsulating the placenta.  Your child uses the placenta for those many months, and then once it's delivered, it is no longer serving a purpose for the child.  It made sense to me that the mother should reclaim the energy and nutrients of the placenta once her child has finished with it, in order to nourish herself, and nourish her child through a new physical connection (at the breast).

 

Looking back on DS's birth, it is interesting to think about the cord.  It very quickly drains of blood...  It was mostly free of blood even before I delivered it, and was cool to the touch by the time I delivered the placenta.  The placenta itself was, of course, still warm and beautiful.  But that connection to the baby was clearly gone, even before physically severing the tie between baby and placenta.  DS didn't cry at all when we candled it, and I was able to reclaim those nutrients to help my body adjust to the rigors of new motherhood, and help my son's body adjust to the rigors of life outside the womb.

 

Your child will go from the placenta, to the breast... From one physical connection to the other.  For me, reclaiming the placenta like that helped to foster the symbolic transition from one physical connection to the next.


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#11 of 22 Old 02-27-2011, 12:02 PM
 
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 I was considering a lotus birth for baby #2, but am leaning towards just doing a highly delayed cord cutting instead now. I am leaning towards encapsulating the placenta and wouldn't be comfortable doing so after days of it sitting out.

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#12 of 22 Old 02-27-2011, 02:26 PM
 
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Hi

 

I am a midwife, and I did an internship in Bali with Robin Lim. There most women give birth and the cord is cut at around three hours postpartum Some women do choose "lotus birth" and wait for the cord to fall off on its own. It is the tropics and hot so the placenta is rubbed with a mixture of cinamon cloves and salt, maybe tumeric too not sure. 

 

It was kind of messy and even some moms were not thrilled with the attached placenta (husband wanted lotus) others thought it was great. None encapsulated the placenta.

 

Treesa Mclean, LM, CPM

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#13 of 22 Old 02-27-2011, 09:46 PM
 
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I'm planning this time to cut the cord after maybe an hour or two. I also want to be able to use the placenta, both in smoothies and encapsulated, so a lotus birth isn't for me. Also, I remember when DS was first born, and what stump was left after cutting, seemed to get irritated very easily if it got bumped or anything, and it just seems like that would be even worse with a lotus birth...


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#14 of 22 Old 03-01-2011, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Italiamom View Post

With DS1 we waited until the placenta was delivered, and then we candled the cord to separate it, instead of cutting it (google "cord candling" if you're curious).  It is believed to return heat to the body, and was a slow and (for us) ceremonial way of severing DS's tie from the placenta, once the placenta had left my body.

 

I also, quite frankly, can't imagine not eating or encapsulating the placenta.  Your child uses the placenta for those many months, and then once it's delivered, it is no longer serving a purpose for the child.  It made sense to me that the mother should reclaim the energy and nutrients of the placenta once her child has finished with it, in order to nourish herself, and nourish her child through a new physical connection (at the breast).

 

Looking back on DS's birth, it is interesting to think about the cord.  It very quickly drains of blood...  It was mostly free of blood even before I delivered it, and was cool to the touch by the time I delivered the placenta.  The placenta itself was, of course, still warm and beautiful.  But that connection to the baby was clearly gone, even before physically severing the tie between baby and placenta.  DS didn't cry at all when we candled it, and I was able to reclaim those nutrients to help my body adjust to the rigors of new motherhood, and help my son's body adjust to the rigors of life outside the womb.

 

Your child will go from the placenta, to the breast... From one physical connection to the other.  For me, reclaiming the placenta like that helped to foster the symbolic transition from one physical connection to the next.




This makes a lot of sense to me. I had never heard of burning the cord in this way, but I did a search on MDC and found a few threads. Let me know if you have any good links. Would you mind describing the details of how you did it? I am picturing waiting 1-3 hours and then using a nice beeswax candle. Maybe I would ask my mom to do it while I nurse. Perhaps DH or the MW could burn some sage or sweetgrass and someone could say a nice blessing. Some Q's: is it necissary to swaddle the baby to keep them from getting too close to the flame? how long does it take to burn through? Did you use a special box to catch the wax? Did you use one or two candles? How far from the baby's belly? Thanks for mentioning this!

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#15 of 22 Old 03-01-2011, 11:29 PM
 
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Let me know if you have any good links.

 

This link (http://novamidwife.org/gallery/cord-burning-pix) has a really excellent picture that will give you a great basic idea.  We didn't use a box like this, but it seems like the box would enable you to burn a bit closer on the cord.  We had a friend who did this recently with her baby girl, and her partner built her a similar box as a gift.  It was a very sweet gesture on his part, and a nice contribution toward this initial separation.
 

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Would you mind describing the details of how you did it?

 

I birthed the placenta into a bowl, which my midwife did a quick once over of.  As I think I said in a previous post, the blood is gone from the cord pretty quickly.  After all, the expulsion of the placenta from the body is supposed to mean that the uterus has closed off blood connection to the placenta.  By about 10-15 minutes after delivery of the placenta, the cord was completely devoid of blood...  It was white, and cold.  After the delivery of the placenta, my midwife checked me out of course, and checked the placenta briefly, and then we got our son wrapped as well as we could with the cord coming away from him.  We used beeswax candles, 2 of them to start with, and while I held my son, and my midwife held the cord taut, my husband lit the two candles and began burning on the cord as close to my son as we felt we could (maybe 6-7 inches, use your hand as a guide).  The heat isn't really that great, to be honest, but I've heard you can also cover a piece of cardboard with some foil to reflect the heat, and then cut a slit in it, and thread the cord through that to burn closer.  It is a process that takes a while though!  It's not a quick process.  I think it probably took about 10 minutes to burn through the cord.  Eventually we figured out that one candle worked just as well as two, with my husband holding the candle and my midwife sort of twisting the cord back and forth over the flame, while keeping it taut.  Once the cord was fully separated, we made sure to burn the stump still attached to my son to make sure the whole end was well cauterized.  One thing to note is that this method means the cord will dry out VERY quickly.  By the next morning, the whole cord stump was as brittle as a rock!  I wish we had made a point to coil it close to his skin, because we just left it off to the side, and it ended up making a long hook that seemed to get caught on clothing if we weren't careful.


 

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 I am picturing waiting 1-3 hours and then using a nice beeswax candle.  Maybe I would ask my mom to do it while I nurse.  Perhaps DH or the MW could burn some sage or sweetgrass and someone could say a nice blessing. Some Q's: is it necissary to swaddle the baby to keep them from getting too close to the flame? how long does it take to burn through? Did you use a special box to catch the wax? Did you use one or two candles? How far from the baby's belly? Thanks for mentioning this!

 

1 hour would be PLENTY of time time wait.  You really don't even need to wait that long.  Once you've actually delivered the placenta, the cord will be mostly devoid of blood by that point.  Wait another 20 minutes and you should be good to go!  And yes, beesway candles only.  Make sure it is pure beeswax.  We got ours from a nice lady at the farmer's market.  They sell them in the pair usually, and you'll want to buy the long tapers.  We still have much of ours left, which we have stored away with the long part of the cord that was attached to the placenta (which my midwife graciously coiled and dried for us).


To answer the final questions, you would definitely want to have at least one assistant (so at least your mom).  I don't know if it would be ideal to nurse, just because you want the baby facing the candling, and not facing you with the cord draped over and out (as would be required to nurse).  If your child is adamantly nursing, wait until they finish, and then do the cord burning :)  We didn't have DS swaddled, so much as just comfy and wrapped.  Keeping an exposed belly doesn't really lend itself well to a good swaddle.  But it took about 10 minutes, maybe more, to burn all the way through the cord, and we just burnt it over a bowl.  We started with two candles, but they weren't really necessary.  The good ones usually come in pairs though.  And we held it maybe about 7 inches from our son's navel.  Just be very, very careful, and constantly check the heat.  You don't want to burn your newborn!

 

Another option, too, would be to candle it much further away, and then clamp well below the candling spot, and cut once the cord has been severed by candling.  That would leave the traditionally clamped short stub (less likely to get caught on things), but you would still have the symbolic severing through fire.  With our next birth, this is probably what we'll end up doing.


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#16 of 22 Old 03-02-2011, 09:07 AM
 
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Your child will go from the placenta, to the breast... From one physical connection to the other.  For me, reclaiming the placenta like that helped to foster the symbolic transition from one physical connection to the next.


I really like this thought and feel exactly the same.  I like seeing others burn the cord and dry it, not gross at all.  My thoughts regarding visitors not being down... If they are not comfortable, you possibly don't want them there anyway. 

 

At our birth, our cord pulsed for around an hour and we did clamp, then I delivered the placenta.  Our MW then took us on a "tour" of it, fantastic to see and understand the tree of life.  We placed it in the freezer and recently planted it with a tree we purchased.

 

If to do it again... that is the only thing I think I would have considered doing differently.... burn, no clamp.  I am not sad about our initial decision of clamping and found the whole experience very peaceful. 


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#17 of 22 Old 10-26-2011, 11:14 PM
 
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Here is the video that CNN made of Robin Lim doing a cord burning.  Yep, CNN! 

 

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/03/15/cnnheroes.lim.tsunami/index.html

 

There is a PDF version of the book, "Placenta" with full instructions, if you want to get a copy.  I am here in Bali and can email them out to people who are interested.  Just be in touch. 


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#18 of 22 Old 10-30-2011, 06:47 PM
 
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To me, Lotus birth seems like a very unnatural way to go about handling the placenta. Eating it, sure. But natural biological behavior of mammals is to sever the cord soon after the placenta is out, then eat the afterbirth. You have to jump through a lot of hoops to leave it intact safely, and it can really interfere with skin-to-skin cuddling. 

 

People like it for creating a "mindfulness" around handling baby, but honestly? I think there are enough challenges in the immediate postpartum that people tend to be pretty mindful anyway. And lotus birth is absolutely 100% not compatible with eating the placenta. I don't see it as gross, just as something that adds more complexity than necessary. 

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#19 of 22 Old 10-30-2011, 08:47 PM
 
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I wouldn't do a lotus birth if you wanted to consume the placenta in any fashion.

 

Personally, I have trouble caring if relatives are squicked out by the placenta. Maybe if it bothered my husband, I'd care.

 

 

 

Quote:
To me, Lotus birth seems like a very unnatural way to go about handling the placenta. Eating it, sure. But natural biological behavior of mammals is to sever the cord soon after the placenta is out, then eat the afterbirth.

 

Well, humans got the idea from chimps, so that makes it "natural" in my book.

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#20 of 22 Old 11-01-2011, 08:38 AM
 
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After reading a bit of Jeannine Parvati Baker's thoughts on lotus birth and Robin Lim's book, I was totally for the idea for this baby (I'm almost 41 weeks). My first child was born prematurely in a hospital, his cord was cut immediately and his placenta discarded. It was a horrible, violent birth and so I was loathe to do anything even remotely violent for this birth, and so letting the cord detach naturally seemed ideal and our midwife was fine with it. But the more I thought about it, the more valuable placenta consumption seemed (I got into a really dark place after my first birth), and so we are choosing cord burning after probably an hour or so of leaving the placenta attached. We also have three dogs, which is a concern, if you catch my drift. I still think lotus birth is a beautiful concept, but perhaps challenging in practice. Even Jeannine Parvati said they ended up severing the cord after 15 hours because it was so difficult to stem the spoilage.

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#21 of 22 Old 11-02-2011, 06:24 PM
 
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My last birth was what I would call a semi lotus birth. After the placenta was delivered, we wrapped it up in a chux pad and either I tucked it under my arm as I moved around, or my midwife held it while I took an herbal bath with my newborn. After getting out of the bath maybe 2 or 3 hours had gone by. We cut the cord, it was completely white and firm already. We did not need to clamp. Then the placenta went into the fridge to wait to be encapsulated.


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#22 of 22 Old 11-05-2011, 11:03 PM
 
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I had a lotus birth with my 5th. He was born in winter and his cord detached on day 5. It was easy just to snuggle him in bed while he was attached but when I had to transport him to my bathroom things got a bit more challenging. To be blunt I found it to be a PITA. With my next and recent pregnancy/birth I chose not to lotus birth again. We did leave baby attached for 3.5--4 hours and my midwife did not cut the cord but burned it( since my midwife studied in Bali with Robin Lim and then I ate placenta/TCM preparation.

 

 

Here is a picture of my recent birth and the cord burning since a few had mentioned it in previous posts. That's the cord burning box from Bali.P1020155.JPG

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