48 answers

My Daughter Has an Umbilical Hernia

Hi everyone,

I was wondering if there were any moms out there who had a child who has/had an umbilical hernia..? My 7 week old daughter has one that is about the size of your thumb nail, but I have read that these don't tend to cause pain. I have had well baby appointments and neither pediatrician I saw ever mentioned anything about her little belly button (and it looked like this when I went). I decided to look up some information on it and realized this might be what she has. When Abigail had her surgery on Tuesday for clubfoot, one of the nurses there spotted the hernia and told us we needed to see a surgeon and have them decide what to do about it.

Is surgery usually necessary? I'm just wondering what experiences moms out there have had with this. We were given 3 surgeons names that are in Sacramento; I may make an appointment while I'm down there tomorrow.

Thanks in advance!

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My grandson had one about the size of a quarter and it stuck out about 3/4 of an inch. It took until he was about a year old for it to go away. He did not, however, like to lay on his stomach and we think it was because of his hernia.

Hi. My son had an umbilical hernia as well.The Dr. didn't mention anything either.When I asked him he said it was no big deal but to me it looked like a big deal.My old school mom-in-law told me to put a quarter over it and tie it with a string.I didn't do that but she did every weekend when she watched him and eventually it went away.I can't remember exactly how long it took but I do remember by his first b-day it wasn't there anymore!!Kinda different but worth a try!!Good luck!

Hi A.

My son had one as well and it never seem to bother him. I believe that just after his first birthday it started to go away and now that he is 20 months old, it looks completely normal. No need to worry! It goes away itself, doesn't seem to cause any pain, just doesn't look great at first. It also can get bigger before it goes away. Hope this helps.

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umbilical hernias rarely need surgery... abigail's sounds small... my little one (now 2) had an enormous hernia... now she just has an outie.. very cute... don't sweat it... common, benign...

My son had a one and it was back to normal by 4 months. I worried a lot about it too but even the doctor's said he'd outgrow it and he did. His was about that same size. I would get a second opinion. Surgery for a small baby should always be the last resort in this situation. Especially if she already had a surgury for her foot.

Congratulations on your little girl!
Welcome to Mommyhood!

My daughter also had umbilical hernia; at it's largest it stuck out about 1 1/2 inches. I asked my doctor about it and he said it was no big deal and it usually takes care of itself. She is now 19 months old and has a flat belly button. I would wait to consider surgery. Also, it was pain free, the doctor actually pushed it in to show me. It never seemed to bother my daughter at all.

Hi A.

My son had one as well and it never seem to bother him. I believe that just after his first birthday it started to go away and now that he is 20 months old, it looks completely normal. No need to worry! It goes away itself, doesn't seem to cause any pain, just doesn't look great at first. It also can get bigger before it goes away. Hope this helps.

My daughter has an umbilical hernia as well. There is an extra little bump about an inch above her belly button, correct? The doctor assured us that this was not a problem. There is no pain either. My daughter is now six and we have never had any complications due to the hernia. The doctor told us that eventually my daughter might want to have it surgically fixed for cosmetic reasons only. She will always have an outie belly button. We have had one school that asked about it, but after telling them what it was, everything was fine. I hope this helps.

My sister had the same problem with her son. Her doctor told her that the belly button should return to normal within the first three years. Her son's belly button went back to normal when he was four months old. You shouldn't worry so much-give it some time. It probably wouldn't hurt to get it checked out though.

My daughter is now 10 months old and she had one and it is now gone. It took a few months or so, but the doctor never mentioned it. My midwife mentioned it but it went away.
Hopefully your daughters will too!

Hi A.,

1st Congratultions on your newest addition! I too am a new mom. My daughter is now 10 months old and she also has a small umbilical hernia. I've had no feedback or advice from any of her physicians and haven't felt a need to investigate further due to the fact that my husband also had one. We only became aware of his umbilical hernia after he had to have an appendectomy at age 48. It is my impression that it's merely a cosmetic concern for most. During my husbands surgery the surgeon took it upon himself to repair the hernia and the only difference is the appearance of his navel. It is actually pretty funny because he now misses his "outie bellybutton". My suggestion is that unless it's a pretty severe hernia let it alone and save the risk and cost of surgery.

I hope this helps!

Hi A.. Congrats on your new baby. My second son actually has an umbilical and abdominal hernia. There two different hernias and his Doctor and three others have said that they are fine and cause no pain. His umbilical hernia is about the same size as your daughters. All the Doctors told me that they will not usaully consider surgery until they are three years old if they still have it. I guess they will in most cases correct themselves. So don't worry but always watch it to make sure it isnt growing. Good Luck.

I have heard such stories about those hernias. I have two boys that had groin hernias removed. I know a women that had a hernia on her naval, and she had it removed.Groin hernias from what I heard can rupture, and cause real problems. As for naval hernias, Im not sure. Check out google for naval hernias and see what comes useful. Good luck.

Hi there,
My son had an umbilical hernia as well. My pediatrician just kept an eye on it..he said they usually close up by themselves. Sure enough it did and he was just fine. He is 11 now.

my 3yo daughter had an umbilical hernia when she was born as well. Don't worry. it goes away. if her pediatrician seen it and said nothing, obviously he wasn't alarmed. wait it out. it'll be gone before you know it.

Rarely does an umbilical hernia need surgical repair. Usually when the baby starts sitting up, crawling etc it strenghtens the abdomonial muscles making the umbilical hernia go away.

Hi A., my daughter, now 5 on Feb 6, 2008, had an umbilical hernia after birth that lasted for about 1 year. Hers was large it looked like a small balloon (quarter size)Our pediatrician told us not to worry, she would push on it and check it out at her well baby checks. She also said most resolve themselves, and it went away eventually. Sometimes nurses scare us, but it wouldn't be a bad thing to double check with your childs pediatrician and see what they say first. I hope this eases your mind a bit. Take care.

My older son had the same thing and it corrected itself by the time he was a year. I actually forgot about it until I read your post; his belly button looks totally normal now! I'd say talk to your ped before you see a surgeon and if he/she is not too concerned about it and it's not presenting major problems to perhaps wait a bit before you try any surgical intervention. As I recall, most go away on their own before the child reaches age 3.

Hi A.,

My son had the same thing. They said it that often the whole would close on it's own and just keep your eye on it and give it some time. The rule of thumb then (he is 7 now) was if it pops out as long as it goes back it is fine. One day he strained really hard to poop and it popped out and I realized it was not going back in. It would not even go if we gave it a gental push. He was crying and making it worse...so we stuch him in the tub to help calm him and it did go back. We did mention it to the Dr at his next check up and they sent us to a surgeon. He thought surgery was a good idea and I not wanting him to go through the drama again agreed. The surgery was pretty common. The Dr had done it lots of times...we were in good hands. I think my son was 3ish years old but I can look in my scrapbook to know for sure. We took photos at the hospital.
Good luck to you and Congratulation on you new baby!

My grandson had one about the size of a quarter and it stuck out about 3/4 of an inch. It took until he was about a year old for it to go away. He did not, however, like to lay on his stomach and we think it was because of his hernia.

I agree with all the other moms. I work in health care and often see kids with umbilical hernias. Most of these do tend to improve over time and don't cause much problems. If its small enough I wouldn't worry. If it becomes bigger than a quarter or she is having problems with her digestion like uncontrollable vomiting, weight loss despite good nutrition or her belly seems to be bigger than normal, I would consult with her pediatrician to see if she needs surgery or not.

Good luck

Hi A.,

My 2 month old has an umbilical hernia as well. She was born on January 10th. The first time I took her to the pediatrician (3 days old) I mentioned it. He told me not to worry about it, that it would go away on it's on by her 1st birthday if not a little after. I trust my pediatrician. He has been my two year olds' doctor since he was two days old. I don't think surgery is necessary. Please check with your pediatrician. Ask him about it. Don't wait for him to mention it! I'm sure she's fine, though.


Hi A.,

Both my kids have had this. What my pediatrician told me is that if it is small enough to fit your pinky into, it usually heals itself by the time they are two. With my 4-year-old that is what happened.

My daughter is 20 months and hers does not seem to be healing as well. He said if it is not gone by the time she is two, she will have to have surgery. He said it is a lathroscopic surgery with local anesthetic and is no big deal (to him, at least)!

One more thing - my pediatrician never mentioned it to me either until I asked about it. My mom was a pediatric nurse and she mentioned it to me. Once I asked, he gave me the information. It could be that your pediatrician is just keeping an eye on it and doesn't want to scare you by talking about surgery. I would talk to your regular pediatrician about it before I consulted a surgeon.

Hope that helps.

Hi A.,

My daughter had one too when she was born, but her doctor told me not to worry, it would go away on its own, and it did. She is 7 years old now and has a normal belly button. Maybe you should take her back to her doctor and ask them about it, or leave a message for her doctor and discuss with her over the phone.

I had one when I was born (I'm 37 now) and they did do surgery on me when I was 12 weeks old. I came out of the surgery fine, but my mom did say it was one of the scariest days of her life.

Take care,

I was 12 years old when my sister was born, also with an umbilical hernia. It never bothered her nor was it ever operated. She's 46 npw and has never had a problem because of the hernia. I'd still get medical advice to be certain. At least a couple of opinions should make you feel more at ease about it.

Hi A.,
when my son was about a month or so, he also developed an umbilical hernia and it looked awful! His poor belly button became a large bulging purple colored "button"! I tried so carefully not to disturb it when I diapered him, but it just stuck out so much. His doctor said it should go away in a few weeks time and sure enough, it did! He is 11 now and his belly button is totally normal and fine. His doc said it wasn't painful and was caused by the large intestine poking out a little through his un-developed stomache muscles, or something along those lines, (I can't quite recall, it's been so long!) If I were you I wouldn't jump into a surgical procedure unless the doctors think it would be wise. I would research umbilical hernias and get lots of dr. opinions first. It might go away on it's own. Congrats on your baby girl by the way!!

My daughter had an umbilical hernia that poked out quite a bit, and it went away without incident during her first year. After we got used to it (and were assured that it was not harmful), we thought it was pretty cute :)

It is my understanding that surgery is not usually necessary. I'd go back to the pediatrician and have him/her take a closer look to make sure all is okay (with intestines, etc.).

My infant son (a twin) had an umbilical hernia. The Dr. said if it didn't resolve itself by age 3 to have it surgically repaired. At about 4 months it looked completely normal. It was kind of funny because it was one of the ways we could tell him apart from his twin brother! Now we can't cheat by looking at their belly buttons!

Hello A.-

My son had one of these as well- our doctor said it usually goes away by 2-3 years old. My son's went away at about 4-5 months. They didnt seem too worried about it at the time.

Hi there,

My son had umbilical hernia when he was born, about the same size. That area is just under developed, leaving a open/gap around the muscle/abnominal wall. I just kept an eye on it and was advised by my Dr. to give it time. Within a year or so it closed up on it's own. It can take up to 3 years I have read, but that is probably a rare case. Better that you hold off for awhile than surgery if you can be patient. It never gave my son a problem, nor did it hurt him. He will soon be 18 and has a very nice looking belly button, so don't worry! your baby girl will be fine, just give it time.


one of our girls had one, and md said to wait on it for 2yrs b/c by that time it resolves on its own and it causes no pain/problem.....our daughter's resolved on its own ...maybe about 8mos or so....hang in there!

Umbilical hernias are very common and nothing to worry about. Once her abdominal muscles develop further as she gets older it should resolve. If it doesn't resolve by the time she reaches school age (approx age 5 yrs) she would then generally be referred to a surgeon for repair. Because it is so common and self-resolves, pediatricians are not concerned. I suspect the nurse you saw does not have experience in general newborn care so was unsure.

My son had(may still have one) when He was born(or just after) too. The doctor had told me that they usually go away and that it isn't to much to worry. He also told me to gently poke a finger in to see if it is closing up. I did that with my son and I could tell that it was getting smaller. you can see a doctor about it too or ask you doctor at the well baby appointments to check it and see what he(or she) may think(just to make sure it's not to bad of a hernia. I hope I have helped a little.


hi there,
my neice had this. Her's grew to about the size of a small walnut.ver strange looking but it didnt hurt or bug her at all till she turned 8 and then started to get a bit self concious about it with swim class and with friends, so they had it removed. Not a major surgical process and went just fine.

My daughter does too! As did I...Our pediatrician told us to keep an eye on it. She said these things can heal on their own. Surgery is not always what is needed! My parents had the surgery performed on me because it WASN'T getting better. However, my daughter's has gotten better & I don't think we will need to do suregery on her. Don't worry about the surgeons yet - ask your pediatrician first! It (the hernia) doesn't hurt the child & it isn't life threatening. My surgery was done when I was 4 years old - it is more cosmetic than anything!

My baby girl, who is now six months, HAD an umbilical hernia. I noticed it right off and pointed it out to her pediatrician, but she said that they are very, very common, and she wasn't overly concerned about it because such a high percentage of them go away by the time the baby turns a year old. Well, my daughter's has been gone for a couple of months now. My pediatrician said that there was no need to push on it or anything, but rather just let it heal on its own, and then she would check it out on her one-year visit. So there's a good possibility that your pediatrician may have noticed it but didn't think that it was worth scaring you over. So just relax and talk to your pediatrician about it in a year if it isn't gone. Let's keep our fingers crossed that it will be gone. And I definitely don't think that surgery is necessary quite yet because I have first-hand proof that they do heal on their own. Good luck with your new little bundle!!

One of my twins had an umbilical hernia at birth and the dr. said that it would correct itself with time she is now 2 1/2 and her belly button looks normal she just has an outie and her twin an inie. It will be fine if it bothers you then maybe have it checked by a surgen but for the most part its just cosmetic and Im sure with the surgery for her foot it was nerve racking so dont put yourself or her throught that agian unless its nessasary

In my experience there is no need to consider surgery. If it was something more than just a thumb nail size area and caused pain, then it might be a consideration.

My son was born with gastroschesis, and had to have surgery to repair his stomach. Post surgery, we noticed the same thing. A small umbilical hernia. We too questioned it, and were told as the stomach strengthens, it will go away.

It might take anyway from 6 month to a year for the stomach walls to strengthen (your stomach muscles are like a series of plates connected by a thin membrane) and be able to close up tightly enough for this (for lack of better terms) to pop back in place.

Hi A.,

My daughter (6 mos. old) had a small umbillical hernia. Her doctor noticed it & told us not to worry, that it would go away on its own. BUT if for some odd reason it didn't, they would wait several months before they did anything about it. Try not to worry. Believe me...I am the worst worrier in the world & I know how hard it is not to worry. Just enjoy your daughter. This time is so short & so precious. Hope this helps!

My daughter had one too, and the doctor said it should go away by age 6. Hers didn't, and he said she was at risk of a piece of the intestines getting stuck in there, which could be very serious. Her belly button stuck out like a little balloon. So she had surgery then, at age 6. Everything went fine. She's 20 now, though, so medical opinion might have changed.

Hi A.,

My daughter had a hiatal hernia which is a little higher than an umbilical hernia. It is really just a small gap in the muscle tissue with some fat protruding. We did not even notice this until she was about a year old. So you are lucky to see it this early. In our case, they said surgery was necessary because there was a risk of strangulation in an exceptionally active child (which she is)---meaning the surrounding muscle tissue would "strangulate" the protruding tissue and cause bleeding. Sounds weird I know. So we had the surgery last fall with a pediatric surgeon in Reno (we live near Tahoe) and the Dr. said she sees 40 cases like this a month. The surgery lasted about 30 min, we took our kid home 2 hrs later and she was absolutely fine. Sounds like you've been through surgery already (I was very nervous about it) so you've partially cleared that hurdle. You can ask your surgeon if the procedure is absolutely necessary, and if not will there be a big lump there when she gets older. You can decide based on what you consider necessary, even if no lump she will have a scar like my girl. Good luck!

Hi A.,
My daugther had the same ,the size of a ping pong ball when she came to me at the age of 3 months and 4 1/2 pounds .It went away on its own.Took a few years to do so ,but without surgery.At age 12 she has a little extra skin over the bellybuton so then she is done growing if its an concern
to her we will look into a much easier surgery then .(I think the nurse over reacted, since the doctors are not concerned .) You and she have enough to care for with her foot. Have fun with your little darling. J.

Hi A.,
My baby currently has a pretty good sized hernia. My middle son had one too, but his corrected itself. Their pediatrician said that if it isn't taken care of at a year old then we'll have to do surgery. But he gives it a year to heal on its own. It would be good to talk to your daughters pediatrician to see what their thoughts are. If your pediatrician hasn't said anything about it, then he may just not be concerned about it right now. My sons pediatrician notices his, but his belly button protrudes out about 2 inches out from his belly, it is pretty big. When he was a newborn it stuck out even further, a little disturbing to see on a newborn. But, we had a feeling early on that it probably wouldn't correct itself, but we are still hopeful that in the next 2 1/2 months it will go away.
Good luck, I hope she doesn't need surgery, that is never an easy thing.

I had a big umbilical hernia as a baby because I was crying so much that the pressure caused it. My mom just wrapped a big coin into gaze and taped it on my belly. It then closed up by itself . You can't see anything anymore now 35 years later.

Hi A. -
My daughter had an umbilical hernia as well as reflux. They put her on an assortment of very expensive meds (no surgery) but what ended up working for us was the Tucker Wedge. Of course, insurance wouldn't pay for it...but it was just over $100 and it was the best investment that I've ever made. It made Rachel more comfortable and helped me sleep without worrying about my daughter. Eventually her hernia disappeared and the reflux got better (although she slept on the Tucker Wedge for over a year). I still have the wedge as I can't get rid of something that I felt was a lifesaver.
Good luck - SuZ

My daughter was also born with an umbilical hernia. I went to two different pediatricians, who both said to give it 6 months to go away on its own. If not by then, the next step was to consider surgery. Fortunately, it went away around 5 months. Give it time! Good Luck!

Hello A.,

I have not experienced this with my own childeren but thought that I would let you know my own story. I was born with a hernia. The doctors detected it after a few months and determind that they would put of doing surgery. They did not operate until I was 5 years old and I am happy to say that I just had a birthday and turned 38. I have not had a lick of trouble since. I hope that this gives you some piece of mind and it never hurts to get that doctors option.

Blessings for you and your family.

Hi. My son had an umbilical hernia as well.The Dr. didn't mention anything either.When I asked him he said it was no big deal but to me it looked like a big deal.My old school mom-in-law told me to put a quarter over it and tie it with a string.I didn't do that but she did every weekend when she watched him and eventually it went away.I can't remember exactly how long it took but I do remember by his first b-day it wasn't there anymore!!Kinda different but worth a try!!Good luck!

HI A.,

My daughter was a premie and had a umbilical hernia . I also consulted pediatricains and a plastic surgeon . They all said it would go away on it's own and it . It took about 9 months . Her belly button isn't a "inny" it's more like a button and perfect !!! Good luck


HI A., Thought i just let you know that my daughter also had an umbilical hernia. I asked her pediatrician about it and she said it wont be anything to worry about unless it is still there when she is 3 or so. My daughter is now almost 2 and it has been long gone. I think it went away around 6months but cant remember for sure. Her doctor said that it is fairly common esp. in girls but also common in premies (she was 4.5 weeks early). The umbilical vessel does not fully close and blood still flows back and forth, which actually makes it squishy. But dont squeeze it or move it around too much. Normal brushing against and bumping is ok, just let it heal :) Hope that helps a little.

Hi A.,
Congratulations on your daughter's birth! My son had an inguinal (sp?) hernia and, from what I recall, a small umbilical one as well. He had to get surgery for the inguinal hernia, but I believe the surgeon advised that we leave the umbilical one alone even though they were already doing surgery. I'll check w/ my husband to see if he has a clearer memory of this (this was almost five years ago). Seeing a surgeon does not mean that he/she will suggest surgery, but if he/she does, definitely get a second opinion just to be sure!

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