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  Umbilical hernia
Is it normal for my baby’s belly button to bulge when he cries?

It is extremely common for small babies to have a belly button that bulges when they cry, due to an umbilical hernia. This simply means that the gap in the abdomen where the umbilical cord was joined has not closed up yet. Although the bulge looks worrying when the baby strains in any way, it is completely normal. These hernias can range up to the size of a small apple, and are caused when a small amount of abdominal tissue pushes through the gap. In almost every case, the hernia will repair itself as the child grows, and many doctors will wait till the child is quite big, around seven years old, before intervening. Any device designed to push the hernia back is NOT a good idea.

When should you worry? In very rare cases the abdominal tissue may become trapped by the hernia, and this is called strangulation. The only remedy for strangulation is immediate surgery. So while generally a hernia is not something to worry about, you do need to keep a check on it. If you see any of the following signs, you need to act immediately and have the baby seen by a doctor: after crying the bulge is still present, the bulge becomes uncomfortable, tender or swollen. This may be accompanied by vomiting


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