Why Does My Baby’s Belly Button Look Bruised?

If your baby’s belly button looks bruised and discolored like purple, pink, or blue. In that case, it could be a symptom of them having an umbilical hernia, protruding growth, which is painless. Or it could be an umbilical granuloma, like a star tissue, as the belly button starts healing. Usually, it heals as your baby grows older, but there is a need to worry if your baby starts feeling pain or the growth becomes more discolored and prominent.

Everything about your infant initially is tender and needs to be taken care of, including their belly button. It is one such delicate thing that your doctor tells you to look after for the first two weeks. The umbilical cord is cut off, and a little bit is deliberately left, which takes about two weeks to dry off completely and fall off.

It is of utmost importance that the belly button is taken care of to avoid any infection and bruising. But even if you slack off a bit, many things take place which can affect your baby’s belly button.

One such thing to worry about is when your baby’s belly button looks bruised. So let’s try to understand what it means and what you should do to make it better!

Umbilical Hernia

A newborn baby's belly button is being examined for possible umbilical hernia.

If you have noticed your baby’s belly button has started to look a little bruised and discolored in shades of blue or purple, then this is known as umbilical hernia.

About 10 percent of all babies have an umbilical hernia. And it’s common amongst infants, particularly premature babies.

It appears as a painless lump in or near the navel. If we put it simply, a hernia occurs when an internal part of the body pushes through a weakness in the muscle or surrounding tissue wall.

Basically, occurring if the hole isn’t closed or heals appropriately. It is pretty visible if your baby cries or strains himself, then it bulges out prominently.

Symptoms

  • Noticeable swelling or bulge near the belly button.
  • The spot becomes more prominent when the baby cries or puts strain like coughing or sneezing, with pressure on the abdomen.
  • A hernia doesn’t harm the baby or cause pain in any way.
  • The typical size is somewhere around ½ inch to 2 inches in diameter.

Treatment

If the hernia isn’t that big or protruding and doesn’t harm the baby, then it becomes normal when your baby turns 2 years old.

It would be best if you visited your pediatrician, and they will gently massage the area so that the hernia can go back in. It’s better to get the proper treatment at the right time.

If you notice your baby is in pain or the hernia is becoming more prominent and discolored, you should worry and visit the doctor right away.

Umbilical granuloma

Mom is cleaning and examining her newborn baby's naval for possible signs of umbilical granuloma.

This is another issue that could develop to your baby’s belly button in the first month of their infancy. Also noted by discoloration, a small pink or red lump starts showing up that might be covered in a clear or yellow discharge.

This issue also doesn’t bother the baby. But it can get infected and cause other problems with your baby, such as skin irritation or fever. If properly taken care of, it goes away in a couple of weeks, or you may require further treatment.

Symptom

When the umbilical cord is cut out, and a little bit of it is left attached to your baby’s belly button, it is supposed to get dry and fall off without complications.

An umbilical granuloma sometimes gets formed when the remaining stump falls off. It’s like scar tissue that forms as the belly button starts healing.

Treatment

Umbilical granulomas can be treated through various options. But only by visiting your pediatrician, and only they are allowed to treat it. Please don’t try it at home.

  • Using silver nitrate to burn the tissue. Since there are no nerves in the growth, it won’t cause any pain to the baby.
  • A small amount of liquid nitrogen can be poured into the granuloma to freeze it. Then the tissue dissolves.
  • The growth can also be tied with suture thread, which then dries out and disappears.
  • Salt can be placed on the growth and kept like that covered with gauze for a while. After 30 minutes, clean the area with a gauze pad soaked in warm water. Do this for 2-3 days, and soon the growth will start drying out and then fall off.
  • If the infection gets worse only, then the doctor recommends surgery.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is my baby’s belly button dark?

When the umbilical cord is cut out, and a tiny stump remains, which is supposed to dry out and fall off in 2-3 weeks, it leaves behind a little color and a circular ring.

This develops into the belly button that every adult has. It has a brown or dark brown pigment, and this is normal for every baby. In a few months, the color will start matching your baby’s skin tone.

When should I be concerned about my baby’s belly button?

A healing belly button will look slightly darker in color, like brown or black, and will show signs of healing in a month. But if a belly button isn’t getting healed, it will show discoloration like blue, purple, or pink. You might see growth too.

If your baby is in pain and starts showing some physical symptoms, you should immediately visit your pediatrician.

What determines if you have an innie or outie belly button?

An innie or outie belly button is determined by how the obstetrician cuts and ties the cord. It has nothing to do with the management of the umbilical cord at birth.

Outies are caused mainly by unnoticed umbilical hernia, which usually gets normal when the baby turns 5 years old.

Do umbilical hernias go away in babies?

Yes, when an umbilical hernia develops in babies, it goes away on its own by the time baby turns 2-3 years old.

It might look weird, but the baby isn’t in pain. However, if it gets worse, you will notice physical symptoms in your baby, and then it’s time to see your baby’s pediatrician.

Is umbilical hernia painful in babies?

No, it’s not. It looks like protruding growth, which becomes prominent if your baby sneezes or coughs but is never painful for the baby.

If it does then, it is a cause for immediate worry. Then it would be best if you visited your pediatrician to get it treated right away.

To summarize

According to the normal development that should take place in your baby after getting the umbilical cord cut off is that the remaining stump dries and falls off in the next 2-3 weeks.

After this, the healing process starts, the closure of the abdominal muscles just below the navel. Then, the navel ring starts forming, and the discolor that is dark brownish is a natural part of the process.

Sometimes, the muscles don’t come together wholly; the intestines push through the opening, causing an umbilical hernia or another issue known as an umbilical granuloma. This can be identified by discoloration.

Usually, these disappear on their own as your baby grows older, so you don’t need to worry too much. But there are rare cases when this doesn’t happen, and then you should consult your doctor. But trust the natural healing and don’t experiment with any tips or tricks you hear as it can worsen your baby’s belly button.

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