Sometimes babies are born with belly buttons that don't look quite right. They stick out, instead of going in. And when the baby cries or is upset, that belly button seems to stick out even further. Then when the baby calms down, it will go back in.
Dr. Carrie Brown with Arkansas Children's Hospital says this is known as an umbilical hernia. "An umbilical hernia is actually a defect or a place where the muscle didn't quite close where the umbilical cord came out so what's going to eventually be your belly button. Sometimes that muscle doesn't close completely together and then it leaves a little space."
No one is certain what causes this. It's just something that goes on inside of the baby's body. It doesn't harm the baby and Doctor Brown says in the majority of cases it's not painful.
"Well, very rarely it can get what we call strangulated, which usually happens when the hole is not very big and intestinal tissue that's actually what's going out into that space and making it poke out so little parts of their GI tract go out there and then slide back in, might slide out and get stuck," Brown says in that case, your child would need to see their pediatrician.
Even though these will eventually go away on their own, Brown has seen parents wrap ace bandages around baby's belly in hopes of keeping the belly button in. She says this can increase the amount the baby spits up and only makes the baby uncomfortable. "So leaving them alone is the best course of action."