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HealthSheets™

After Umbilical Hernia Repair (Pediatric)

Your child had a procedure called umbilical hernia repair. A hernia is a weakness or tear in the wall of the belly. An umbilical hernia looks like a bubble or bulge near your child’s bellybutton. Although many umbilical hernias close on their own, some need surgery. During your child’s surgery, the healthcare provider made a small incision and repaired the muscle. Here are some instructions to help you care for child once at home.

Home care

Recommendations for home care include the following:

  • Your child's dressing will stay in place for about 48 hours.

  • Do not let your child’s dressing get wet. Give your child sponge baths to keep him or her clean.

  • Do not allow your child to shower, take a bath, or get in a swimming pool or hot tub until the healthcare provider says it’s OK. 

  • Give your child pain medicines as directed by the healthcare provider. Pain tends to lessen or go away after 2 days.

  • Try to keep your child calm and quiet for 3 to 4 days following surgery. This will help keep the incisions from opening. After that, your child can resume most normal activities, such as daycare or school, as directed by your healthcare provider.

  • Do not allow your child to play rough sports until advised by your surgeon.

  • Allow your child to eat or drink as desired.

When to call your child’s healthcare provider

Call the healthcare provider right away if your child has any of the following:

  • Fever (see Fever and children, below)

  • Shaking chills

  • Vomiting or nausea that doesn’t go away

  • Severe belly pain

  • Trouble urinating

  • Redness, swelling, warmth, or pain at the incision site

  • Drainage, pus, or bleeding from the incision

  • The incision opens up or pulls apart

  • Does not have a bowel movement 3 days after surgery 

 

Fever and children

Always use a digital thermometer to check your child’s temperature. Never use a mercury thermometer.

For infants and toddlers, be sure to use a rectal thermometer correctly. A rectal thermometer may accidentally poke a hole in (perforate) the rectum. It may also pass on germs from the stool. Always follow the product maker’s directions for proper use. If you don’t feel comfortable taking a rectal temperature, use another method. When you talk to your child’s healthcare provider, tell him or her which method you used to take your child’s temperature.

Here are guidelines for fever temperature. Ear temperatures aren’t accurate before 6 months of age. Don’t take an oral temperature until your child is at least 4 years old.

Infant under 3 months old:

  • Ask your child’s healthcare provider how you should take the temperature.

  • Rectal or forehead (temporal artery) temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

  • Armpit temperature of 99°F (37.2°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

Child age 3 to 36 months:

  • Rectal, forehead (temporal artery), or ear temperature of 102°F (38.9°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

  • Armpit temperature of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

Child of any age:

  • Repeated temperature of 104°F (40°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

  • Fever that lasts more than 24 hours in a child under 2 years old. Or a fever that lasts for 3 days in a child 2 years or older.

© 2000-2017 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.