Umbilical cord / Te pito
After your baby’s birth, the umbilical cord is cut, and a plastic clamp or tie is put on the umbilicus that’s remaining (the stump). Usually the clamp is taken off after one to two days by your midwife or nurse, once the stump has dried and sealed.
The umbilical cord is culturally significant to Māori and some whānau will have a special ritual and place where they bury the whenua (placenta) and pito (umbilical cord). This practice reinforces the connection between the new baby and the land where they were born.
Some belly buttons stick out and this is called an umbilical hernia. The bulge is soft and not painful. It can take up to five years to disappear as the muscles around it tighten slowly.
When to visit a doctor
Talk to your midwife, or call PlunketLine or your family doctor if your baby’s tummy button:
- bleeds often
- is sticky, smelly
- is red, or the skin around the area is red.