Umbilical Hernia is very common in babies younger than 6 months of age. It appears as a bulge or swelling around the belly button.
My daughter’s cord stump fell on the 10th day after she was born. After a few days, we noticed a bulge around her belly. Instead of belly button settling in, it was protruding with a swelling. We got really worried and took the next appointment to meet the paediatrician. We were asked to take a lot of precautions and be extremely gentle around it.
I am going to break down all the information about Umbilical Hernia through my personal experience. Looking at it every day or every hour will not be easy initially, but you need to have a lot of patience. My advice will be to follow your doctor’s instructions and don’t take any extraordinary measures all by yourself. You might end up doing more harm than good. Please always consult your doctor in case of doubts.
Causes of Umbilical Hernia
Also commonly called as an “Outie Belly Button”, Umbilical Hernia happens when the abdominal muscles around the belly button don’t close forming a hole and the navel doesn’t reverse inside the belly. The intestine finds space and makes it’s way out through the gap.
The hernia is visible when the baby puts pressure on his abdomen when coughs, cries or tries to poop. It doesn’t pain or causes any sort of discomfort to babies. It doesn’t cause any digestive or eating problems.
Treating Umbilical Hernia
Usually, Umbilical Hernia doesn’t require any treatment or medication. It heals on its own and reverses by the time your child is 5 or 6 years old. My daughter is a little over 6 years of age and her outie has reversed on its own like it was never there.
Surgery is recommended in case the hole is big and the outie hasn’t reversed till this age. Until then nothing needs to be done. Your child will be eating and sleeping normally.
However, if you notice any discharge or blood, call your doctor immediately.
Caring for Umbilical Hernia in Babies
The hernia forms within a day or two of falling of the cord stump. The stump area is still tender and needs proper care.
- Keep the outie and the area around it dry.
- Don’t slather oils, creams or body lotions on or around the hernia, unless adviced by doctor.
- After bathing the baby, wipe the outie with a spirit swab. Once it’s dry, dab the area gently with a medicated powder prescribed by your doctor.
- Don’t try to press or push the outie back inside. It might enlarge the hole.
- Some days the hernia will appear small and big on some days. Don’t worry if it looks big. It could be because of the gas in your baby’s tummy.
I again emphasise that it requires a lot of patience from you. Also, please consult your doctor if you have any doubts.