Article posted with permission from A Childbirth
Lotus birth is a practice of non-violence. It is gaining more and more momentum nowadays, as parents realize the importance of birth for the psychological development and health of children.
During my first birth, I have read about Lotus Birth and wished it for my newborn daughter. We have bought a special sieve, where we put the placenta. We kept the placenta in the sieve a little higher than Gabbie, while she had her first breastfeeding. The blood from the placenta quickly went down into the baby, providing her with the most precious nutrition. Having had an unassisted home birth, we did not rush to cut the umbilical cord. We waited for it to drain itself. Little by little the red throbbing stalk connecting Gabbie and the placenta became white. Gabbie was very calm and relaxed. She is still very self-confident and attentive. (Still my first birth was not such, which I hope the second one to be. When a doctor came, she cut the umbilical cord. I am thankful that at least we had the wisdom to postpone her coming at least an hour after the complete birth. Yet it was probably not wise to transfer to hospital after such a wonderful birth at home.)
Not only the umbilical cord is not cut, it just withers away usually in the third day. The infant has the time to accustom to the world, without the sudden breaking from this caring warm friend, it had in the womb for nine months.
The placenta is part of the baby. The placenta begins developing at implantation from the same source as the baby - the blastocyst. The fetus relies on the placenta, not only for nutrition, but also for gas exchange, waste removal, endocrine and immune support. The correct development of the placenta is important for the development of the embryo and fetus.
When born, the baby still relies on the placenta. Leaving it attached to the baby after birth, you make a natural transition to take place. There is no rush, no sudden severance, and no confusion. The baby has the feel for the placenta, and at the same time discovers in its own time the new source of love, warmth, nutrition in the mother. The gradual attachment to the mother helps the detachment from the placenta as it dries and naturally separates. The most precious nutrition, hormones, immune support substances enter the baby body. Leaving the placenta intact, you also keep the baby body from infection which might appear in early cord cut.
Parents report their lotus born babies are more mature, calm and happy than their non-lotus born babies. They seem more content and faster maturing. [Note: This could have to do with all the other aspects of baby-friendly care that typically go along with lotus birth - not cutting a newborn's genitals post birth, feeding on cue, keeping baby close to his mother's chest, sleep sharing, etc.]
I myself embraced the notion of lotus birth for my current birth. It seemed the most natural way to bring my baby into this world. Some suggest it was first used in the Western world in 1974 by Clair Lotus Day. She witnessed the way a mother Chimpanzee left the placenta attached to the baby until it dropped off. Seeing this, she thought it should not be harmful for a human baby and did the same after the birth of her son. Leaving the cord attached was a practice also cherished by the Native Americans, the Thais. It was mentioned in Buddhist traditions as well. It is likely that humans have actually used lotus birth for much of human history, although it is just now becoming popular again in North America.
Lotus birth is revived today as a practice of gentle parents, and many others who sense the benefit for their newborn baby. It has been practiced even in hospital settings, after Cesarean, or for premature babies.