Informed Choice

How to make a cord tie

We previously made cord ties together at one of our circles. It is a lovely way to create something ready for when you meet your baby. An honouring of this special time when you wrap the tie around the cord and take the step to separate your baby from their placenta.

Here is my simple way to create them.


  • Embroidery threads cut to 30cm length x 6
  • Scissors
  • Freezer bag
  • Steriliser or pan of water to boil in


  • Cut x6 lengths of embroidery threads, 30cm long
  • Knot them together at one end
  • Separate into three lots of two threads and plait together.
  • Get someone to hold the end if it helps to pull the threads tighter
  • You’ll need to make 2 for the midwives to use when they cut the cord
  • Knot the other end of your cord
  • Boil it in a bubbling pan of water for at least 2 minutes.
  • Cool and place in a freezer bag ready for the big day


To sterilise or not to sterilise?

Midwives have used sterile clamps in hospital because we always used to keep everything sterile at birth, and it would be consider the safest thing to do, especially in a hospital environment where you are coming into contact with other people’s bugs. However as soon as that clamp touches the baby’s skin, your skin, their clothes, the towels, it is no longer sterile. And now in the UK we do not generally use sterile gloves even for catching babies, so there is no reason for the clamp or tie to actually be sterile.

What is really important at birth is the instrument used to cut the umbilical cord. This is when infection can reach a baby, through unclean practices, which sadly often happen around the world, using instruments or other objects that are not even clean, let alone sterile.

It would be wise that anything you use is clean, but ultimately it is your choice whether to actually sterilise your cord tie because as soon as you take it out of its’ little bag, it won’t be sterile anymore.

Boiling your handmade cord ties does ensure that it will be really clean for your new baby, and freezing them also helps them to stay that way.

This is a wonderful resource on cord clamping choices.

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