Video on how to care for baby’s belly button

What is an umbilical granuloma?

An umbilical granuloma is an overgrowth of tissue during the healing process of the belly button (umbilicus). It usually looks like a soft pink or red lump and is often wet or leaks small amounts of clear or yellow fluid. 

It’s most common in the first few weeks of a baby’s life. The exact cause of this overgrowth is unknown but, if left untreated, the granuloma can take months to resolve and can cause you unnecessary worry.

  • Keep the belly button clean and dry
  • Clean the belly button with soap and warm water when it gets soiled with urine (wee) or stool (poo)
  • Expose the belly button to the air by rolling back the top of the nappy

If your baby has an umbilical granuloma, but no obvious infection, still speak to your health visitor, who may suggest a twice daily salt treatment, an effective and safe treatment you can do at home.

Salt treatment

  • Clean the belly button with cotton wool soaked in warm water
  • Apply a small pinch of salt
  • Cover the area with a clean piece of gauze and leave for up to 30 minutes
  • Rinse off the salt using cool boiled water
  •  Do this twice a day for at least two days
  • The granuloma should start to change colour and reduce in size and start to heal

If your baby’s belly button is showing signs of an infection, such as redness of the surrounding skin or an offensive smell and discharge, or if your baby has a fever, contact your GP for further details on treatment.