Featured Local Business

Most Read: Wellness

Are Your Kids Caffeinated?

Find out why caffeine and kids don’t mix. Read more

Chatting About Online Safety

Nowadays kids of all ages are connecting with friends and fa... Read more

Why Yoga is Good for Kids

Little Cecilia Kocan, age 5, sat perfectly still, meditating... Read more

Why Manners Matter

Start your children on the right foot by teaching them manne... Read more

Nuts About Nuts

Holiday vacation time is approaching, and I already feel lik... Read more

Family + Sports = Fun

Fitness starts early—from a child’s first steps! When Mom an... Read more

The Dirt on Dirt

“Don’t track mud in the house!” “Wash your hands before din... Read more

Put an End to Bullying

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged ... Read more

Walking the Middle Path

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a relatively new appro... Read more

Zits for Grown-Ups

Cafeteria cliques may be a distant memory, but if you’re sti... Read more

Make Sleep a Priority

  Parents often use bedtime stories and other peaceful... Read more

Infertility Procedures

Discover the latest treatment options for infertile couples... Read more

Mediterranean Diet for Kids

It’s not just for grown-ups! Feed your kids the health... Read more

Let's Move

Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in Amer... Read more

Fitting in Fitness

When was the last time you played with your children—really ... Read more

Concerned about Fever?

One the most common reasons I see a child in my office is fo... Read more

Bringing Home Baby

As a parent-to-be, you are probably feeling overwhelmed as y... Read more

Girls Fighting Fire

While going on nature hikes, singing songs, and roasting s&r... Read more

To Cell or Not to Cell

My husband and I were sitting on the couch chatting one nigh... Read more

Eat Your Veggies!

Summer’s bounty of fresh fruit and vegetables offers a... Read more

2022 Feb

About Belly Buttons

When your child’s belly button looks strange, here’s why.

You look down and notice that a day after your two-week-old infant’s umbilical cord fell off, it looks odd. You have been keeping the belly button clean and dry, giving only sponge baths, and have not submerged the belly button in the tub, as you were advised. You are not sure what is wrong, but you know something is not right. You take your infant to your pediatric health care provider. You are told that there are two main issues that occur routinely with an infant’s umbilicus (belly button). They are umbilical granulomas and umbilical hernias.

An umbilical granuloma is a type of scar tissue. It appears as a moist reddish lump of tissue at the site where the umbilical cord stump has fallen off. There may be clear or yellowish discharge. It may be oozing. Umbilical granulomas occur around 1-2 weeks of age. They affect one in 500 newborns. The area is not painful. If you notice an umbilical granuloma, see your pediatric health care provider. This needs to be treated to prevent infection.

Umbilical granulomas are treated by your pediatric health care provider with silver nitrate to chemically seal the area. The silver nitrate will dry up the area, and it will form a scab over a few days. Keep the diaper rolled down to leave the area uncovered by the diaper. Wait until after the scab falls off and the area is dry and well healed to bathe your baby. Occasionally this area may need to be treated a second time with silver nitrate if it remains moist. Surgical intervention is rarely needed.

Any fever (a temperature at or above 100.4 degrees F) in an infant under two months is a medical emergency, and the infant must be taken immediately to the emergency department. Watch for swelling, pain, tenderness, foul-smelling discharge, or a rash in infants with umbilical granulomas, and see your pediatric health care provider immediately should these occur.

An umbilical hernia will look like a bulge at the umbilicus (belly button). During pregnancy, the fetus had an opening between the abdominal muscles which allowed the umbilical cord to pass through. After birth, that opening usually closes. If it doesn’t close, a loop of intestine can push through that opening causing an umbilical hernia. The hernia may be more noticeable when the baby is crying, coughing, or straining during bowel movements. It may be less noticeable when the baby is quiet and lying down.

Twenty percent of babies are born with umbilical hernias. It is more common in infants less than six months of age, as well as premature infants or low birth weight babies. Boys and girls are equally affected. Most umbilical hernias are painless, harmless, and will close spontaneously by one year of age. Most umbilical hernias do not require treatment. Do not put anything on the hernia.

If you are concerned that your baby may have an umbilical hernia, see your pediatric health care provider. They will take a complete history and do a thorough physical examination. They will attempt to “reduce” the umbilical hernia by gently massaging the area in an attempt to push the intestine back in. If it goes back in, the hernia is said to be “reducible” which means that the umbilical hernia is not incarcerated (stuck out). A reducible hernia is benign (not harmful).

Complications of an umbilical hernia are rare, but an umbilical hernia can become incarcerated. This means that the intestine becomes trapped and cannot be pushed back in. Watch for signs of incarceration such as a red or purple color at the site of the hernia, increased size, hardness or swelling of the hernia, inability to reduce the hernia, abdominal pain and tenderness in that area, fever, vomiting, or constipation. Seek immediate emergency medical care if you have concerns that your child’s umbilical hernia has become incarcerated (stuck out). This would require an immediate trip to the emergency department.

Ninety percent of umbilical hernias will close by the time the child turns four or five-years-old. If a hernia remains past that age, your pediatric health care provider will refer you to a pediatric surgeon for a consultation to have the hernia repaired. Surgical repairs are only needed for incarcerated umbilical hernias or for those that remain past four to five years of age.

Melanie J. Wilhelm, DNP, CPNP

Dr. Melanie J. Wilhelm, DNP, CPNP, is a Doctor of Nursing Practice, and a Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner as well as core faculty member at Walden University. Her book, Raising Today’s Baby: Second Edition, is available on Amazon.com.

Website: www.RaisingTodaysChild.com

Enter to Win a 2-Night Getaway Package at KOA Virginia Beach Holiday

Don't miss this exclusive opportunity to win a free 2-night Deluxe Cabin stay, Adventureworks Zipline park tickets, plus a Campfire & S'mores bundle for you...

Free to Enter!