13 answers

3-Year-old's Belly Button Issues

My three year old son has been picking at his belly button for awhile now. He has an "innie" and will pull it out (kind of so he has an "outie") and plays with it while it is stretched out! We get onto him for pulling it out but he still does it, especially if he is watching TV, sitting still, and he even does it in his sleep sometimes. His belly button is not irritated, red, infected, or anything- it seems like he just does it because he has nothing else to do. If anyone has a child that has done this, I would really appreciate suggestions!!

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Thanks for all your comments. It's nice to know he's not the only kid out there that does this!!!

Featured Answers

I don't really have any advice, but my daughter sucks her thumb and plays with her belly button at the same time! She does it when she is tired. If she is wearing a onsie and can't get to her belly button she tries to borrow someone elses!

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I would just make sure he does not have a hernia. Otherwise, no need to worry. Take care!

My 4 year old still does this. He started doing it at an early age and when we spoke to his pediatrician about it, he said not to worry. The most harm it has done is that it's annoying especially when we're out an about and he has his hand in his shirt. We've tried stopping him from doing it by reminding him not to, but it's like second nature.

I wonder if it is something they just grow out of just like sucking thumb?

My almost 3 year old does the same thing and has been for awhile now. His doctor said that as long as it is not irritated or anything not to worry about it. He does it without even thinking about it while he is just sitting there watching tv. We have tried keeping his shirts tucked in to his pants which keeps him from doing it a little bit.

If it is not irritated I wouldn't worry too much about it being "stretched out". Skin is very elastic up into your 20's. If it bothers you though, try putting a big bandaid over it.

My 3 year old daughter does this too. She has been doing since she was about a year old. For her it is a comfort thing. She tends to do it a lot when she is anxious and when she is getting sleepy. It's funny but she used to play with mine when she was little and I would be breastfeeding her. I say if it's not getting irritated, just let it be. They will soon grow out of it.

Our daughter did the same thing for years. I don't recall when she finally quit, but at 11 years old, she no longer does it.

If he has no hernia, he will stop ( and I think if he had a hernia It would hurt to pull his belly button).My daughter did this ( it really freaked out her grandmother). We told her to stop if we saw her and didn't let her swim ina two piece . It faded when she was about 6. She still has an "insie" and doesn't mess with it any more---- this too will pass.

To me it sounds like a comfort thing. My son who is going on 11 still twirls the front of his hair when he is watching TV and or tired. I know it is a comfort thing because I used to twirl it when I was breastfeeding him. We try to keep his hair short and remind him that he is tired and it is ok. His doctor said not to worry about it as long as he was not pulling it out. He sometimes twirls my hair at night too instead of his. I see it that it is better than sucking his thumb....

My 3 1/2 yr old son does this too. He has been picking at his for about 2 years, he also has several friends that do too. Just remember that he would stop if it hurt. It is just a security thing-blankie, luvey- the nice thing about it is you can lose it! It can't be left at Grandma's! (There is a really cute book by Sandra Boynton called The Belly Button Book, while it won't discourage him from playing with his belly button it is a cute story!)

I no its not funny but our 2 year old does the same thing. He has an outie and has alway played with it. We think its cutie.We call it his Gangster LQQK! We noticed it when he was very little, when he is tired and EVERY time he has his drink he will lift his shirt and pinch his button with his two fingers. If we would put him in a onezie he would ask for his belly button.
I think its just a comfort thing. Like kids with a blanke or pacifier. Try not to draw alot of attention to the matter and as long as its not irritated whats the harm? We would'nt want them to have negative feedback with something that is not trivial. Good Luck!

Hi E.,
I have a client who does that. I thought it strange at first, but the mother took him to the doctor who stated that he didn't see anything wrong with the belly button area, so even if it gets red and irritated it's not a big issue if he's messing with his belly button. The doctor did tell her that it can be a sign of man..I can't think of the term, it's that thing that guys get sometimes when lift too much and pull that just right muscle. He stated that if it was that then they could operate, but it's not a big deal, so they don't have to. It's probably as the doctor said not a big deal, he just likes to play with his belly button, I've found a lot of boys especially like to do that for some reason..

I don't really have any advice, but my daughter sucks her thumb and plays with her belly button at the same time! She does it when she is tired. If she is wearing a onsie and can't get to her belly button she tries to borrow someone elses!

I think every child has a security "thing" they do. My 19 month old plays with his belly button. I notice it happening when he is laying in his bed going to sleep and during situations when he feels stressed, like a crowded playground. I don't worry about it.

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