A hernia is when there is an opening in the muscle wall and some of the intestines bulge through the muscle opening. In an umbilical hernia the navel area (belly button) is where the muscle opening is. The naval will bulge with crying or straining. The bulge may disappear when your baby is quiet. If you feel the area with your finger, you will feel a small round opening in the muscles of the abdominal wall. The hernia passes through this ring.
Umbilical hernias are very common (10-20% of children). Crying does not make them any bigger or last any longer. They are not painful and they never break. The opening in the muscles usually closes on its own by age 4 years.
In most children, an umbilical hernia will go away by itself. In some cases, however, the hernia must be fixed by having an operation. Your child will probably need surgery if: