Umbilical Hernias: Baby Belly Button Sticking Out

No one pays a lot of attention the belly button. The rare occasions you really think about it are when you have a new-born, and when your teen wants to pierce his or her belly button. Other than that, the belly button is something we often take for granted and hardly notice. The belly button is the remnant of the umbilical cord. The umbilical cord is responsible for passing vital nutrients from the mother to the developing baby and removing any fetal waste products. This is where the baby was attached to the mother whilst in the uterus. Some people have belly buttons that are fondly referred to as "innies" or "outies". The latter refers to a belly button that protrudes out a bit while the former is when the belly button is a small crater-like cavity.              

Baby Belly Button Sticking Out: Is It a Concern?

Usually the belly button sticking out is not a major concern. But you still to take special care of the umbilical "stump" until it dries up and falls off. 

The opening in the abdomen where the umbilical cord was attached usually seals off spontaneously but in some babies, there may be a swelling around the area. This swelling is often more pronounced when the baby is crying or having a bowel movement. The swelling is caused when there is a gap in the abdominal muscle wall where fluid, tissues or intestines can push thorough. Almost 20% of all new babies have this phenomenon and it is called an umbilical hernia. Although it appears scary to have this protuberance on your baby’s tummy, it is relatively harmless as long as the baby has no pain or discomfort.

Majority of umbilical hernias resolve spontaneously by the age of 12 to 18 months. Sometimes, however, the area may become inflamed. The signs are swelling, pain and a change to the normal color of the skin in the area. If you notice any of this, seek medical care. There are some very rare cases where the umbilicus opening seals off but traps a small piece of the baby's intestines. This can lead to poor blood flow to that area of the intestine and will require surgery to correct. In this rare case, the baby may experience vomiting and constipation.

What to Do If It Doesn't Go Away

If you find your baby belly button sticking out after 18 months, you may think about seeing a doctor. 

  • Once the doctor has been consulted, he may decide that surgery is necessary. This is a fairly common type of surgery for children and should not concern you too much.
  • The child will be given a general anaesthetic and be put into a deep sleep.
  • The surgeon will gently push back any protruding organ and stitch the opening in the abdominal muscles together.
  • Depending upon the severity of the hernia and the general health of the child, the child may be kept in hospital under observation or discharged the very same day after the general anaesthetic has worn off.
  • Your doctor may prescribe some pain relief for your child.
  •  A full recovery is expected if there are not other complications from the surgery.

Experiences Sharing on Baby Belly Button Sticking Out

"When my two-week old baby's umbilical clamp was removed, I noticed a swelling in the general area of the belly button. I was not advised very well by the midwife and so did not put a name to the condition. My baby was 9 months old when she was positively diagnosed as having an umbilical hernia. The swelling increased in size when she cried or strained in any way, especially when she passed stools.Certain medical professionals advised me that it would go away on its own, but it never did and it looked the same after months. I was very worried that this umbilical hernia would impede my baby from crawling. At nine months, she seemed very uncomfortable if she had to lie on her tummy. She did not enjoy spending time on her tummy at all. I didn't think it caused her any pain, though. Less tummy time meant that she would not get onto her knees to crawl. At two years old, I decided my daughter was ready to have the operation to correct the umbilical hernia. The operation was a success and she didn't experience too much pain or discomfort during the recovery period. The appearance of the belly button is now flat and as perfect as it can be. Don't panic if your child has to have the surgery to correct a belly button sticking out."

"While bathing my six-week old baby, I noticed my baby belly button sticking out about an inch. This absolutely scared me and she was crying at the top of her lungs at that moment as well. This happened so suddenly and I had never noticed anything like that previously. I went to visit my pediatrician and was informed that I should wait for a few months for it to correct itself. The doctor said if it doesn't fix itself, I would have to opt for a surgery. This is not ideal as I'm very worried about my baby having surgery this early in her life."

"My son's belly button was sticking out and I was under a lot of pressure from family to try all sorts of remedies like taping it down, placing coins over the area and bandaging it into place. I was very scared but thankfully, did not attempt any of these 'home remedies'. The doctor told me it would heal by itself and it did. Now, my son has a beautiful and flat belly button."

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