Your baby’s umbilical cord stump dries out and eventually falls off — usually within one to three weeks after birth. In the meantime, treat the area gently: Keep the stump dry.
The part of the umbilical cord that’s still attached to your baby is the umbilical stump. Often the clamp is still attached to the stump. During the first few days after birth, the stump gets darker, shrivels and eventually falls off to become your baby’s belly button. Sometimes this takes a week or two.
If your baby has a bulge around the bellybutton, they may have an umbilical hernia. Before the umbilical cord falls off, you may notice that the area seems to stick out a little more when the baby cries. Or maybe, once the cord is gone, you see that their navel sticks out (an “outie,” as it’s commonly called).
Maybe not. About 20 percent of all newborns have an “outie,” also called an umbilical hernia. This is a bulge caused by the umbilical cord as it enters the baby’s abdomen. After birth, as the umbilical cord heals and falls off, the opening to the abdomen usually closes spontaneously.
Despite common folklore, you can’t flatten an outie by strapping something across your baby’s belly or by taping a quarter over it. In fact, there’s nothing you can (or should) do to change an outie. Instead, as your child grows, help them understand that it’s just another way a body can look.
Should an outie be corrected? An outie belly button is a cosmetic issue and doesn’t require surgery. Granulomas need to be treated to avoid infection. Hernias usually disappear on their own and those that don’t can be treated with a simple surgical procedure after the age of 4 or 5.
Can an outie become an innie?
All of this is normal. That being said, innies do seem to be the more desirable belly button. Cosmetic surgery to turn an outie into an innie is common. (Innie into an outie, not so much.)
Should I push my umbilical hernia back in?
An irreducible hernia cannot be pushed back inside. Any time a hernia cannot be reduced, you should contact your health-care provider. Sometimes these types of hernias can become strangulated. The tissue, usually intestine, can become trapped and the blood supply cut off.
Can I push my baby’s umbilical hernia back in?
This means it is stuck in the muscle wall, which can damage the intestines. At home, you can push the hernia back in, but don’t put tape or anything else on the hernia to hold it in. This won’t make it go away, and may cause problems like infection.
Normal Navel Care:
- Keep the navel (belly button) clean and dry.
- If there are any secretions, clean them away. Use a wet cotton swab. Then, dry carefully.
- Do this gently to prevent any bleeding.
- Caution: Don’t use any rubbing alcohol. Reason: can interfere with healing.
Can you choose if your baby has an innie or outie?
The answer is yes, and the decision to fix one should be based on the presence and size of the umbilical hernia. If a child is born with an “outie” belly button, there is a 90 percent chance that it will close on its own by the time the child turns 5 years old.
How does a baby get an umbilical hernia?
An umbilical hernia happens when intestine, fat, or fluid pushes through a weak spot or hole in your baby’s stomach muscles. This causes a bulge near or in the belly button, or navel. It may look like your child’s belly button is swollen. Many children have an umbilical hernia at birth.
How serious is a hernia in a baby?
In many cases, hernias aren’t dangerous. As long as the hernia can move back into the abdomen, it’s usually not a problem. But if the bowel becomes stuck in the weak spot (strangulated), the problem becomes more serious. The abdominal muscle squeezes the bowel, causing swelling.