One of the questions I get on occasion from new parents is "I found a little hard bump in the baby's stomach! Is it bad?"

The xiphoid process is the bottom end (OK, the distal end) of the breastbone (sternum). In normal newborns, it tends to curve outward just enough to be felt, or even be visible. So if your baby has a little hard bump at the end of the breastbone - not to worry.

This is not to be confused with a soft, squishy elongated lump in the midline of the abdomen above the navel and below the tip of the xiphoid. This is a mild weakness in the abdominal wall of the baby where the two halves of the midline ligaments join together (the junction of the right and left rectus abdominis muscles, or "abs" for you body builders). In some babies, with crying or straining this area may pooch out a little. This too, is harmless. Show it to your doctor at the next well baby visit.

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