Umbilical granuloma factsheet


The umbilical cord connects a growing baby to the placenta during pregnancy, allowing breathing gases, nutrients and waste to pass back and forth from the baby to the placenta. It is made up of two arteries and one vein which are surrounded by connective tissue called Wharton’s jelly.

After a baby is born, the umbilical cord is clamped and then cut to separate the baby from the placenta. 

The part of the cord that is still attached to the baby is called the umbilical stump. This stump will eventually heal and fall off, leaving behind the umbilicus. The umbilicus is more commonly known as the belly button.

In some babies, a small, soft, pink or grey lump can appear on the belly button once the stump has fallen off. This is called an umbilical granuloma.

Umbilical granulomas are very common and should not be painful.

 Signs and symptoms

Signs of an umbilical granuloma are found around the new belly button. 

They include:

  • a moist, lump of red or grey tissue
  • oozing, wet or crusted fluid that is yellow or clear
  • redness and irritation of the skin.


Your child’s local doctor or your maternal child and family health nurse can diagnose an umbilical granuloma by looking at your child’s new belly button.


Umbilical granulomas can clear up on their own, as long as the belly button is kept clean and dry.

Umbilical granulomas can also be treated at home using table or cooking salt.

The steps for home treatment are:

  1. clean the area with warm water, making sure the belly button is clean and dry
  2. gently press around the area so that you can clearly see the granuloma
  3. put a small pinch of salt onto the granuloma
  4. cover the area with a gauze dressing and secure it with adhesive tape
  5. leave for 30 minutes
  6. after 30 minutes, remove the gauze 
  7. clean the belly button again using warm water and mild soap, making sure that all of the salt is removed
  8. make sure the area is completely dry.

Repeat these steps twice a day, for 3-5 days, or as directed by your child’s doctor or nurse.

By day three, the umbilical granuloma may be smaller in size and a different colour. 

Eventually, the granuloma will fall off.

Make sure to keep the belly button completely dry in between treatments, and do not try to pick the granuloma off.

See your local doctor or nurse if the umbilical granuloma: 

  • does not improve 
  • gets worse over time
  • becomes infected.


General care of the new belly button

Keeping the belly button clean will become a normal part of your baby’s hygiene.

Make sure the belly button is clean by:

  • keeping it clean and dry
  • cleaning with mild soap and warm water after contact with urine or poo
  • keeping the top of the nappy rolled down or having nappy-free time at home to keep it dry with fresh air.

When to see your doctor

See your local doctor if the umbilical granuloma has not improved after 5 days of the salt treatment, or if your baby is showing signs of infection. 

Signs of infection can include:

  • redness and warmth around the belly button
  • a bad smell coming from the belly button
  • fluid oozing from the bellybutton
  • fever.
Last updated Monday 22nd April 2024


This factsheet is provided for general information only. It does not constitute health advice and should not be used to diagnose or treat any health condition.

Please consult with your doctor or other health professional to make sure this information is right for you and/or your child.

The Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network does not accept responsibility for inaccuracies or omissions, the interpretation of the information, or for success or appropriateness of any treatment described in the factsheet.

© Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network 2024