Normally, the umbilical cord dries up, the belly opening closes and the cord falls off to reveal the baby’s belly button. But in some cases, the muscles around the hole are weak and don’t close properly. Tissue begins to herniate and bulge at the belly button. Some umbilical hernias will close up on their own with some time. However, hernias that do not close up by the time an infant enters the toddler phase may need umbilical hernia repair surgery. Doctors may recommend a laparoscopic umbilical hernia repair for hernias that do not close and are larger than 4 cm. Genetics, premature birth, and low birth weight may increase a baby’s chances of developing an umbilical hernia. Obesity and weak abdominal muscles later on in life can exacerbate umbilical hernias as well.