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EVERY mum loves a soppy memento of their little angel’s first moments – be it a baby tooth, bedraggled cuddly toy or, erm… a chunk of their umbilical cord.
Stacey Solomon shocked her fellow Loose Women panellists when she admitted she’d kept all of her kids’ umbilical cords and even her son’s foreskin following their births. Remarkably, she’s not alone.
Stacey Solomon recently shocked Loose Women admitting she kept her sons’ umbilical cords and foreskin. Pictured, with her sons Leighton, Rex and Zachary
Four mums have revealed to Sun Online how they have kept hold of everything from their child’s first nappy to one baby’s eleventh finger – with that mum choosing to remove it herself at home using a piece of cotton and some salt water.
While their hoarding has left family and friends fearing they’ve lost the plot, they’re proud of their birth keepsakes and even get them out at parties.
Here they explain what inspired their very unusual decisions.
‘I removed and stored his 11th finger’
Pastry chef Danea McGrath, 30, lives in East London with her partner and their two children Mason, 18 months and Ariah, 10 months.
Danea McGrath kept her baby’s eleventh finger as a momentoCredit: Danea McGrath
She says: “Two days after my mum passed away I discovered I was pregnant. It was like a gift from her to myself and my partner.
When Mason arrived the first thing I said to my sister was ,’does he have 10 fingers and toes?’ She replied, ’10 toes and 11 fingers!’ I was so shocked!
The extra digit was growing out of his little finger, it was like a ball of flesh attached to it and didn’t have a bone – just a nail.
The doctors and nurses didn’t say too much. I asked them if they’d seen it before, but they only said they’d heard of it happening. I don’t think it’s all that common.
Danea removed her baby’s finger herself from home after the birthCredit: Danea McGrath
Danea was worried about leaving her baby’s extra finger for too long in case it developed nerves and blood vesselsCredit: Danea McGrath
We got told it’s hereditary, so one of us had the gene for the extra digit, we even had a row about it. Turns out it runs in my partner’s side of the family.
The earliest we could see a doctor about removing it was six months later. I didn’t want to leave it for so long because he’d develop nerves and blood vessels in it.
It took over a week to fall off. I put mittens on him so no one could see – my partner thought I was crazy
Danea has kept the finger in a safe box to look at in years to comeCredit: Danea McGrath
My family is Irish and I had heard that having an extra toe or finger is a sign of good luck. It was my nan who told me what to do to remove it.
When Mason was two months old I went for it. He was asleep and I tightly tied some cotton around the extra finger. He flinched a bit, looked at me and I gave him a feed to calm him. I washed it with warm salt water to keep it clean.
It took over a week to fall off. I put mittens on him so no one could see – my partner thought I was crazy but it worked. I kept it to show him when he is older.”
‘My son’s first used nappy is my keepsake’
Charity worker Hope Broughton, 25, lives in Chelmsford with son Charlie, six months. Her partner works overseas.
Hope Broughton chose a dirty nappy as her keepsakeCredit: Hope Broughton
She says: “I am a massive hoarder, I’ve collected things since I was a child and I reflect on things that have happened in scrapbooks, filling them with mementoes from over the years.
I get the hoarding habit from my mum – she still has a box with all of my baby teeth in which I think are disgusting!
But then my son Charlie came along. He is the most important thing to have happened to me and I take lots of pictures of him and hold on to anything associated with his life.
At the hospital [during delivery], the midwives are fantastic at helping you push the baby out, but after that you are on your own.
Hope says while some may not understand, she loves that she’s kept hold of the nappyCredit: Hope Broughton
I was terrified putting Charlie’s first nappy on. I did eventually put it on correctly, but he didn’t do a poo in it. He didn’t do one for a long time in fact.
It is extreme to keep his first nappy but I’m not ashamed, I just don’t tell many people.
Friends and family think I am crazy and no one has asked to see it either. Everyone assumes it will be manky but it isn’t.
I carefully put it back together and I keep it stored in a box wrapped in cotton wool.
Hope says her baby luckily didn’t need to use the nappy too much at first – so it’s not too dirtyCredit: Hope Broughton
Hope stores her baby’s keepsakes safely together
Mum understands why I have kept it along with everything else. I don’t know what Charlie will think when he is older unless he has inherited my hoarding tendencies too!
My partner is working in Sierra Leone and I send him packages from us. I’ll send him some hair when Charlie has enough to snip, I did think about sending him a nappy but it might be a weird thing to do!
Charlie’s first nappy is a special way to remind me of the best days and most challenging days of my life. If I’d had him circumcised I’d definitely do the same as Stacey!”
‘I treasure my daughter’s breathing tube’
Pre-school assistant Charlotte Diton, 26 lives with her partner and their daughter Sophie, six months, in Horsham.
Charlotte Diton has ensured she always remembers her baby’s arrival – with her daughter’s breathing tubeCredit: Charlotte Diton
She says: “Everyone told me with my first that she’d arrive after my due date, but I ended up going into labour six weeks early.
When my waters broke I went to the hospital to check it was labour starting or something else. It turned out I was already 4cm dilated.
Normally when you go into premature labour you’re given two steroid injections to strengthen the baby’s lungs. They have to be given 12 hours apart, but I only got one because Sophie was born within 10 hours of my waters breaking.
I was able to have a cuddle before she was taken away to the special care unit.
Charlotte’s daughter was born premature and had to be cared for in hospitalCredit: Charlotte Diton
Sophie had to be hooked up to medical equipment for a few weeks after the birthCredit: Charlotte Diton
Sophie had poorly lungs and was jaundiced. She was on a CPAP [continuous positive airway pressure] machine to help her get oxygen into her lungs and she had light therapy to treat the jaundice – all while wearing an eye mask and ear phones to test her hearing.
I stayed with her for five days before being discharged, but she was in the unit for three weeks. I got to cuddle her just once without the paraphernalia on.
Charlotte’s daughter Sophie is now out of hospital – but she’s keen not to forget the timeCredit: Charlotte Diton
For my first baby, it was a lot to go through. There was talk of surgery and various serious procedures to help her lungs, but luckily she pulled though.
After three weeks we got to take her home and the nurses asked me if I wanted to take anything with me. I said, ‘all of it!’ I like keeping stuff, so I took her eye mask, breathing tube and ear phones.
People look at me strangely when I tell them, but I take the tube and eye mask out and look at them regularly.
It’s nice to remember how far we have come. She was so poorly I couldn’t see past it, but now she is a cheeky, healthy roly-poly baby.”
‘We kept my baby’s clamp – it’s our party trick!’
Credit controller Laura Scott, 20, is married and lives in Bracknell with daughter Olivia, 10 months.
Laura Scott chose to keep a momento from her own experience giving birthCredit: Laura Scott
She says: “I was surprised when I found out I was pregnant, but luckily the nine months passed by without any health issues.
I am usually a size 6 and by the end I couldn’t move for more than two minutes at a time – I was enormous!
I was induced in the end and spent 12 hours in labour. I had no pain relief and the bands around my stomach to monitor Olivia’s heartbeat stayed in place the whole time.
I had a water birth and wanted to keep Olivia’s first hat and towel, but they got soaked in the pool so that wasn’t possible.
Laura says while she wanted to keep her baby’s first outfit, it got ruined in the water birthCredit: Laura Scott
Laura chose to keep the bands that were kept round her stomach during labourCredit: Laura Scott
Laura’s husband on the other hand wanted to keep their baby’s belly clampCredit: Laura Scott
As I couldn’t keep anything else from the birth, I kept the bands.
People are surprised when I tell them – most mums think they’re sweaty and throw them in the bin.
My husband decided to keep the clamp they put on Olivia’s belly button too.
At first I didn’t want to! The plastic was caked with gunk from the umbilical cord, but he washed it after the remains of the cord fell off.
They both went into Olivia’s memory box along with a newspaper from the day she was born and her first sleepsuit.
I get the box out all the time – when Olivia is older I’ll show it to her.
Friends think we’re weird keeping the clamp. One friend who has recently given birth said ‘why would you ever want to keep it?’ Nowadays we get the clamp out and use it as a party trick to see who can open it!”