When my little guy, Ayden, was 1-2 months old, I started noticing that his healed belly button which was at the time still protruding, would grow in size when he cried. It all started one morning when I was changing his diaper and I noticed that his belly button looked like a tiny balloon. I remember going his dad and asking him if he had noticed that before. He said he hadn’t but he didn’t think anything of it. Well, being the paranoid parent that I am, I immediately googled it and was bombarded with many results, most of which referred to an umbilical hernia.
“An umbilical hernia occurs when part of the bowel or fatty tissue pokes through an area near the belly button, pushing through a weak spot in the surrounding abdominal wall. Approximately 1 in every 10 infants is affected by an umbilical hernia.”
I knew that an umbilical hernia is what Ayden had going on. I quickly made an appointment with his pediatrician for him to get checked out. Once there, my suspicion was confirmed. Ayden had an umbilical hernia which I was told would not need any treatment as long as it was able to be pushed back in and as long as it was healed by the time he is 5 years old. He said not to put anything on it and to just let it heal on its own. He said not to expect it to heal overnight as it is something that takes time and sometimes years. I was told that if once he is calm, if his belly button is still protruding as long as I was able able to gently push it back in, I had nothing to worry about. With that his pediatrician explained, that it would be a gentle touch not with force or any pain to Ayden. He explained that if it became stuck or unable to go back in with a gentle touch that I would have to take him to the emergency room to have it taken care of.
I was a nervous wreck. I can’t tell you how many times a day I checked his belly button and would gently push on it to make sure everything was okay. There were a few times when things got scary because it seemed like it was stuck but then it would go back in. It was an extremely nerve wrecking time for me and my boyfriend. Luckily, a month or two later his belly button began to shrink in size almost like a small balloon slowly deflating until it was no longer protruding at all. Now Ayden is a proud owner of an innie belly button.
My advice for anyone going through this is to stay calm and be attentive. Pay attention to any changes in size or shape to make sure nothing is stuck there. Also, if your baby is crying make sure to check that his/her belly button or wherever the hernia is, is not what is causing the discomfort. I was told to use gentle pressure and almost massage it back in if possible. If it does not go back in, better be safe and go to the emergency room. Also, if at any point you are unsure have it checked out. If your baby doesn’t seem like themselves or the area doesn’t look right, get it checked out. Always err on the side of caution. Best of luck and hang in there. It gets easier! XO