Friday, September 11, 2009

Umbilical Cord Idiosyncracies

My daughter spent some time fighting monsters in the NICU. Most days she hung out in just her diaper so we had a good day-to-day view of her umbilical cord stump. I let the nurses know right away that if she should lose it when I wasn’t there, they were to bag it for me to keep.

(Enough with the eeewing... I had no idea it was gross and uncommon until the NICU nurses gave me the funny look and pointed out that usually they just throw them away.)

The average umbilical cord stump falls off within eight to 21 days, with most gone by two weeks. When my daughter hit four weeks old, the staff started commenting that it was a little weird that hers was holding out. Her NICU pictures remind me that sometime between day 35 and 38, a pediatric surgeon played with it until it came off. I’ll bet he was one of those kids that had a loose tooth out within days.

“Could it be the Down syndrome?” I heard the doctors wondering during rounds one evening. No one knew. I forgot all about it until I read out here in our blog community that someone else’s baby hung on to their cord stump for a long time as well. My curiosity got the best of me and I started looking into it.

Who knew the umbilical cord could be so interesting... there are umbilical hernias (20% of general population), two vessel cords (1 in 100-500 general pregnancies), late cord stump loss, and short umbilical cords.

Your Turn
Are babies with Down syndrome prone to umbilical code idiosyncrasies? Let’s find out. Take the poll <--- left column 5 blocks down. Please comment and let us know anything interesting that comes to mind concerning your child’s cord or umbilical cords in general.


  1. Noah's came off after a very long time. I forget how long it was now. but every time we went to the dr they kept asking if I was putting on the alchohol ( as if I wasnt). He also had some kind of seperation between his center belly, I forget what they called it, but it did go away with time, a long time. interesting to know this now. thanks

  2. Well, my daughter's came of within days. I was concerned it was too early.

    Oh, and for the record, we kept all of our kids' umbilical cords too. It was a tradition in my DH's family, and they all thought *I* was weird for thinking that was gross!

  3. Elijah's just came off the other day. He was 16 days old. The NICU unit was putting alcohol on it, but the nurses on the labor and elivery floor did not. Different practices on different floors of the same hospital.

  4. Bennett's didn't fall off until 8 weeks!!!

  5. Ozzie's hung on for a long time - I don't remember exactly how long, but much longer than Layla's. And now he is stuck with a giant umbilical hernia that sort of reminds me of that famous scene in Alien. I really, really hope his belly button is normal one day, but I guess in the overall scheme of things that's not a huge deal. And I kept both kids' cords, too - in ziploc bags. So mark me down as another weirdo. You weirdo.

  6. Yusef's fell off within just a few days. I do think kids with DS are more prone to some idiosyncracies though. I remember when I was delivering my ob and the resident who was there commented that the cord looked "weak" or old or something. I don't remember exactly I was too busy being amazed by my child.

  7. M's came off later than I expected, but I don't remember how much later.

    She has an outtie though. Is that common?

  8. Abby has an outie too!
    Abby's came off a little later but I also wasn't applying rubbing alcohol until the ped directly told me to do it and then it came off within a few days.
    A friend from Turkey said it is a Turkish custom to save the stump and bury it somewhere that symbolizes a dream or hope for your child's future. For example she knew someone who had buried their child's at the gardens at Harvard in hopes of a fruitful academic career.
    I have Abbys but not Maddie's. I hadn't heard that before. if I had both I might bury them together as a wish for their continued bond or connection.
    I figured A being a 2nd child- I just didn't get around to using the alcohol to get it off and that is why her's came off a bit later.

  9. Parker's was off by 2 weeks...Taylor my oldest "typical" child held on for 5 weeks LOL!

  10. Goldie had a short cord. I think it fell off in the normal time frame. She has an outie, too. My oldest dd's took about 4 weeks to fall off.

  11. Anna's cord fell off within the first week home - which I thought was early considering it took almost a month for my older (typical) daughter's to fall off.
    Anna does have an umbilical hernia. Although not uncommon, I assumed (without confirmation from any source) that hers was due to low muscle tone. She still has an outie belly button that looks a little funny =)
    - We didn't keep the cords, but funny day when changing Charlie's (oldest child)diaper, I noticed his stump had fallen off, but I could not find it anywhere. Later that evening I notice the dog chewing on something...yep - Charlie's umbilical stump =)

  12. I realize I am way late on this but when Leightyn was born the doctor said her cord was very thin and grisly, apparently they are normally jelly like, plump, and goey, but since she is my first baby I didnt think anything about it, that is until we later got her diagnosis. I recently mentioned this in a post!


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