Umbilical Hernia

Why does my baby’s belly button stick out?

This is called an umbilical hernia and is more common in some ethic groups than in others. An umbilical hernia is caused by a split in the abdominal (stomach) muscles. These muscles will normally come together by school age, and the hernia will normally go away thereafter. However, a large umbilical hernia, those bigger than one to two inches, may need surgical repair by first grade.

The bulge or hernia will get larger when your baby cries or is trying to have a bowel movement. This is normal. On rare occasions, especially with larger umbilical hernias, a piece of bowel may get caught inside the hernia. If you suspect this, call your pediatrician.

Can I do anything to help it go away?

No. Many remedies such as placing tape or a coin over the belly button may actually do more harm than good. Patience, observation and knowing when to call your pediatrician is the best treatment.

When should I call my pediatrician?

  • If the hernia is not closed by school age.
  • If the hernia is hard and is not easily pushed back into the belly button
  • If your child or infant is vomiting and irritable and you notice the umbilical hernia is large than usual, a part of the bowel may have become caught in the hernia and this requires immediate treatment. Please call your pediatrician immediately.