What Causes An Innie Belly Button?

Most people have an innie belly button versus the “outie” version, which raises some questions: Why one and not the other? Is an “innie” more normal than an “outie” or not? Keep reading for everything you need to know about innie belly buttons.


What causes an innie belly button?

All belly buttons mark the place where the umbilical cord was attached, but what gives the belly button its unique shape? It’s a myth that belly buttons are formed by cutting off the umbilical cord; the shape is actually determined by the way the scar tissue of the umbilical cord, which falls off a few days after birth, happened to stick to the surrounding muscle and skin. In other words, the doctor’s scissor skills have nothing to do with the eventual shape of the baby’s belly button.

Are innies normal?

Yes, innies are normal. According to a recent poll by NBC, 88 percent of poll responders had innies. Those statistics are standard across the board with only about 10 percent of the population with outies. The bottom line is that if your baby has an innie, he or she is in very good company.

Are there any advantages or disadvantages to having an innie?

No, there’s not really an advantage either way. Belly buttons are basically just scar tissue, so any advantage would just be a matter of personal preference. Innies can be a little tougher to clean than outies, especially a baby’s tiny belly button, but overall, there isn’t a major advantage or disadvantage to having an innie.

What’s the best way of caring for my baby’s innie belly button?

Belly buttons, unfortunately, tend to be great places for bacteria to grow, not just on babies but on adults as well. One recent researcher on a team exploring belly button bacteria — yes, that is a thing — described belly buttons as “a rain forest” of microorganisms. Caring for your baby’s belly button after the umbilicus has fallen off is pretty easy, though. Just gently wipe with a soft washcloth and a baby-friendly cleanser before patting dry. Right after the cord has fallen off, keep an eye out for infection, but routine cleansing should be just fine to keep the germs at bay.

Your baby’s belly button is an unexpectedly fascinating subject. Innie or outie, dimple or dot, all baby navels are unique and beautiful in their own way. You probably never thought that navel-gazing could be so much fun, did you?

Photo: Getty