So there's this thing - delayed cord clamping. Everyone is doing it!
Well - not everyone.
But it's becoming more popular as science reveals the benefits of waiting a few minutes before clamping and cutting the umbilical cord.
As it turns out, waiting to clamp your newborn's umbilical cord will allow the small amount of baby blood in your placenta to move back into your baby.
According to reports, this mini transfusion does a few things:
- It expands your baby's blood volume by 30-40 percent.
- It gives your baby roughly 75 mg of easy-to-use iron.
- It drastically improves iron levels at 4 months.
- It improves fine motor skills by the time your baby is 4 years old...particularly in boys.
Why Iron Matters
Iron is a mineral found in red blood cells. And if iron were a person, I imagine he'd be a bulky dispatch whirring through the city streets on a red bicycle. Making things happen and getting things done - everyone in the city would rely on iron.
And in his pocket, written on a yellow sticky note, you'd find iron's to-do list:
- Help transport oxygen around the body
- Help the body grow
- Help the brain develop
- Help cells function well
- Help make hormones
- Help make connective tissue
As you can see, iron is a busy mineral. And even more so in you baby's body, which is rapidly growing.
For example - too little iron puts a wrench in your baby's cognitive, motor, and behavioral development.
Do you need to choose? Delayed Clamping and Umbilical Cord Blood Banking
In short, it depends.
In order to bank umbilical cord blood, at least 100 million cells are needed. Typically, this amounts to waiting under 2 minutes before clamping the umbilical cord.
But here's the thing, delayed clamping means waiting for at least 2 - more like 3 - minutes and up to 15 minutes.
You see the conflict, don't you?
Wait too long, and there's nothing to bank. Wait too little, and chances are high that your baby will be missing out on iron during a critical window of development.
Why would you want to bank your baby's cord blood in the first place? Well, umbilical cord blood is full of superhero shapeshifting stem cells. These are cells that can support the body during illness or offer a safe recovery from serious disease.
Before we part, I would like to share this interesting find: The earliest stem cell transplant is at birth. Delayed cord clamping delivers more stem cells to your baby-which is the exact reason why your might want to bank your baby's umbilical cord blood.
Have you decided if you're going to delay your baby's cord clamping? I would love to hear in the comments below!
Andersson, O., Lindquist, B., Lindgren, M., Stjernqvist, K., Domellof, M., & Hellstrom-Westas, L. (2015). Effect of Delayed Cord Clamping on Neurodevelopment at 4 Years of Age: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA pediatrics.
Sandberg, P. R., Divers, R., Mehindru, A., Mehindru, A., & Borlongan, C.V. (2014). Delayed Umbilical Cord Blood Clamping: First Line of Defense Against Neonatal and Age-Related Disorders. Wulfenia, 21(6), 243.
About Megan Garcia
Megan Garcia is *really* into baby and momma wellness. And she's on a mission to create tools that help you nourish your baby. You can catch up with her on Instagram or find out more at megangarcia.com.