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.
What determines if a baby has an innie or an outie?
When you’re born, the umbilical cord is cut and you have a small piece left called the umbilical stump. One to 2 weeks after birth, this stump falls off and what remains is your belly button. As a result, your belly button is essentially a scar. Whether it’s an innie or outie depends on how your skin grows as it heals.
Outies usually occur when more of the umbilical cord is left when it’s cut, leading to more skin left over once it dries out. In some rare cases, outies are caused by a condition known as an umbilical hernia.
Is it genetics? Does it depend on how your umbilical cord is cut at birth? Turns out that it is just depends on the amount of space there is at birth between the skin and the abdominal wall. If baby has more skin than space, he will develop the rarer “outie.”
Is it normal for my baby’s belly to stick out?
Most babies’ bellies normally stick out, especially after a large feeding. Between feedings, however, they should feel soft. If your child’s abdomen feels swollen and hard, and if she has not had a bowel movement for more than one or two days or is vomiting, call your pediatrician.
When the umbilical cord is cut at birth, a bit remains still attached to his navel — and it’ll go through a metamorphosis during your baby’s early days. Indeed, the color and look of the stump changes from yellowish-green to black and crusty as it dries up and then falls off.
Why do some babies have Innies and Outies?
Typically, for an innie, the umbilical ring (the circle that makes the “button”) will fully close in healing, but if an opening persists at the site, then abdominal tissue from underneath can protrude outward, forming an outie.
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.
Do Outies disappear?
Parents ask me many times if “outies” can be fixed. 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.
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.
The shape of your baby’s belly button, by the way, has nothing to do with how the cord was cut or anything else you or your doctor did. It’s simply a result of how your baby’s umbilical cord met her belly, and there’s nothing you can or should do to change it.
The best way to care for an umbilical cord stump is to keep it clean and dry until it falls off on its own. To keep it clean, you don’t need to wash it regularly. Instead, you should avoid getting it dirty. Keeping the stump dry is the best way to promote healthy healing and a natural break off.
Can an outie become an innie?
A relatively new procedure can turn that outie into an innie in minutes, just in time for bathing suit season.
Omphaloliths. As dead skin cells and sebum — the oil secreted by your skin — accumulate in your bellybutton, they can form an omphalolith over time. Also known as a navel stone, they’re made of the same materials that form blackheads. The surface of a navel stone will turn black from oxidation.