Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Help Doc! My Baby's Belly Button Sticks out!


Umbilical Hernia in a 8 week old Baby

Many parents get very anxious when they see a protruding belly button in their newborn babies. I guess all parents want their babies to come out perfect and when there is something not quite right we get rather anxious, especially so for first time parents.

There is a funny little story told about the difference between the first time, second time and third time parents. The story goes like this....

With the first baby, when the pacifier drops onto the floor, the parent picks it up, washes it with baby safe dishwashing liquid, pops it in the sterilizer before giving it back to the baby. With the second child, the parent picks it up, rinses it under the tap and pops it back in the baby's mouth. By the time they have their third child, they simply pick it up, pop it into their own mouths and gives it to the baby.

This story brings home one very important point and that is that knowledge and experience empowers. So for the first child, parents are very careful about everything because they don't know enough. By the third child, parents have enough knowledge and experience to be able to discern what is important and what's not.

Another way to get knowledge and experience is to learn about it from other people which is why you are reading this blog.

Anyway this baby first came to the clinic at 8 weeks of age with a protruding Belly Button. This is a condition known as an Umbilical Hernia. What happens is that there is a small defect in the muscle wall that allows some of the intestines to pop out, thus forming the hernia.

Umbilical Hernias are very common. As the baby grows, the defect in the muscle wall gets smaller and by 12 months, most hernias would disappear. Larger hernias may take longer to disappear. If by the age of 4 the hernia is still present, then a minor operation may be required to fix the defect in the muscle wall.

There is a small chance that the bowels in the hernia gets stuck so that the contents of the hernia cannot be pushed back into the abdomen. When that happens, the baby needs to be seen by a doctor straightaway. Thankfully, such cases are not common.


Umbilical Hernia in same Baby now 3 months old

As you can see from these 2 pictures that were taken 1 month apart, the hernia is already noticeably smaller. The baby's parents are obviously relieved and happy.

Conclusion

Umbilical hernias are very common and most will resolve by themselves. There is no need to do anything unless they persist past 4 years of age.

Reference:

Murtagh, Patient Education 4th Ed, McGraw Hill Companies, 2005

Latest Update:

I saw the baby again and now the belly button is normal!

28 comments:

iml said...

Stumble upon your blog by chance. This is a great way for us,the parent, to see, read and know the friendier side of a doc.

claudia said...

Just want to say thanks for a laugh! The funny story is so true and after reading, I just let out a laugh!

Although I'm not a parent yet, but one day I will be. So thanks for the knowledge. Will sure be coming back to read more.

Thanks for sharing.

kezza said...

My son is 8weeks old and has an umbilical hernia exactly like this one shown on this page. Been to see gp and pretty much told it'll heal by itself. Got out-patient appointment soon to check it out a bit more but it's reassuring to know these hernia's are common and generally harmless.

Anonymous said...

I laughed about the pavifier story. About 30 seconds before I read this I was cleaning my 3rd childs pacifier with my own mouth.

Anonymous said...

my daughter has the same problem with her belly button. It pops out every time she cries or needs to poop. Iwaas scared and talked to the doctor. He told me that it was normal, and should dissapear by the time she turns one. If it didn't go away by the time she was nine then they would do sugery.I looked at him and just wanted to tell him he was crazy. It does look like it's getting smaller, but some days it looks even bigger. I have been doing research and found out that the doctor was right. I guess I'll just wait and see. I just hope it does close by the time she turns one. She's now four months. I'll wait a few more months, then I'll panic even more!!

ieat & itreat said...

The baby in the picture has a perfectly normal belly button now.

Riot-Bike Co. said...

Thanks for the post! I was worried when I saw that my daughter's belly button "popped" out.. Did a google and found ur post.. I can sleep now.. Haha

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for putting this info about the hernia out here. I was worried about my son's (7wks old) belly button popping out, but now I feel MUCH BETTER!

Kendar said...

Thanks so much for this blog! I found it with a google image search for "umbilical hernia," hoping to compare my 8-week-old's belly button to some that were officially "normal." As you say, it doesn't bother her, only me. It's great to see such a great resource for all kinds of parents!

Jayla said...

I just want to say thank you so much because i too was a worried parent and wondered what will happen to my baby thank you again

ieat said...

Glad it was useful.

Anonymous said...

glad to read this. my baby is now 9 weeks old. her belly button pops out when she cries as well. Her GP said it's normal but during her last nappy change i noticed blood stain on her clothes and her belly button is now looking red (like blood). Any idea why?

ieat said...

Difficult to say without seeing it. But you should bring her back to the doctor to have it properly assessed.

Anonymous said...

thank you for this - my 2nd baby is 16 months old and his sticks out really far - its quite funny but we certainly thought something needed to be done - thanks for the insight -

Anonymous said...

Fantastic info. My Dr. will be happy I'm not rushing in to see her about this. I was really worried, but you brought my stress level down a lot. Thank you.

kat said...

I'm also one of those thankful to know that this is not something to freak out about - which I was doing after I showed my mom my youngest's belly button that didn't really look alright. I said it was weird and she said it looked herniated - which put me into a panic, even though this is baby #5 for me!
My youngest daughter is 8.5 weeks old right now and her belly button just looked strange and after the hernia comment, my mom said to just ask my pediatrician at our next appointment - which is coming up very, very soon! I was real worried but now I see I am not alone and thanks for the info! I can feel better about it all for now!

ieat said...

I am glad the info was useful for you. It makes it worthwhile writing the post.

Anonymous said...

My daughter had one pop out at 11 months old. I took her to a surgeon who said it will have to be repaired. I then got a referral to a second surgeon (a pediatric one this time). I have an appointment tomoorow for that. I'm kind of nervous about the idea of surgery. But, at the same time it seems to be rare for them to pop out on a baby that late? It has gotten bigger in the past week as she was sick and coughing and sneezing a lot. I'm quite worried about it.

Celeste said...

This article saves me hours of googling! Thanks for the information and the great images--they look exactly like my newborn's belly. I feel much less anxious about it now, and I have you to thank for that.
But just out of curiosity...my girl spent several days in the nursery and the NICU due to her severe jaundice, and the nurses commented on her fussiness. Do you think that the hernia was caused by all the crying she did while she was in there?

ieat said...

I don't think so. The hernia is caused by the fact that the muscle fibres did not close up properly during development. Crying will increase pressure in the abdomen and might push it out a little more but it is not the cause of it.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be a very key side of this conversation that is missing!!! There are those of us whose belly button sticks out normally and do not have a hernia. I don't know why that is, it just is. I don't mean to rain on your parade but, some of these belly buttons may just be "outies". And if they are, why is that "not normal"??? My wife seems to like mine!!!

Anonymous said...

My first son had this and the pediatrician told me to press on it with each diaper change so that as the muscles closed, the belly button would be caught behind the muscle.

I did notice as time went on, it would almost 'catch' as I was pressing, staying in longer each time and did resolve. Who knows if I really neeed to press, but it made me feel better :-)
My second son has an 'outty' and it never started out looking like the above picture ;-)

My husband had his hernia fixed at 25. He had no outty and no inny...just flat.

grandmanate said...

Is it ok to just use surgical tape to tape 'outee' down each day - hoping that it would help it to remain down.

Jessica said...

Thank you!
I, like many other commenters, had taken to the web to find something that looked like my 6week old recently popped blly button. Nice to see exactly what I was looking for and I can save my hysterical doctor's visit for the next 'emergency' that may pop up. **sigh** fist time parenting, what can I say??

ieat said...

Glad that you found it helpful!

Anonymous said...

RE: anonymous .. "there seems to be a very key side of this conversation" (4th post up).

I totally agree with you in that not all outie belly buttons are as a result of a hernia. I am in my mid-twenties now and I have always had an outie that protrudes about 1/2 an inch from the surface of my stomach and as well, has a swirling pattern to it that is similar to that of a snail-shape.

My belly button was confirmed at a young age that it definitely was not as a result of a hernia, but in fact was created as a result of an excessive amount of umbilical skin.

There is no open cavity in behind the navel from which a hernia would originate, but instead, the skin can be unfolded or 'withdrawn' from within the protruding portion of the umbilical tube itself.

When the skin is manually withdrawn for example for daily cleansing, if it is not manually 'pushed back' into the externally protruding umbilical stump or 'tube' as I call it, the loose skin I speak of will eventually spiral around and re-seat itself on it's own over a short period of time, like 5 minutes or so.

I know some people think that outies are an abnormal thing, but I prefer to think of mine as an 'uncommon thing', because it's shape and odd characteristics really are quite uncommon.

I will also go one step further in saying that I have had more people tell me that they thought my belly button look "very cool", than I have ever had tell me anything negative about it.

And yeah... I too think that it's unusual characteristics DO look rather cool and I don't hesitate to let it's personality peak out from under a belly shirt.. WITHOUT a navel ring attached!

I hope my point of view will help those who also have an outie that is not herniated but is merely the result of excess umbilical skin like I have and that it has been crafted by Nature into something intriguingly beautiful that is very much a part of them!

Jennifer.

Invisible said...

Thanks. I was anxious about my boy of 7 weeks. Each time he cries or try to urinate his belly button pop up. I discussed this with Ped and he told me this is very normal and will be gone by the age of 1 year. Still I was very anxious and started to google. At last a sigh of releif.
Thanks

Anonymous said...

I was freaked out when my daughter was born and refused to cut the umbilical cord. Ever since I've felt like the doctor intentionally cut it wrong.