My Baby Has What?!

Many newborns are born with jaundice… so should you worry?

What is jaundice

Jaundice, or hyperbilirubinemia, occurs when there is an excessive amount of bilirubin in baby’s blood. Bilirubin is made when the body breaks down old red blood cells, according to WebMD.

As a result of jaundice, baby’s skin and the whites of his eyes tend to take on a yellowish hue. Usually, there is no need for major concern if your baby has jaundice, as most babies do develop a mild case of it. However, in rare or severe cases, too much bilirubin in baby’s blood can cause brain damage, hearing loss and behavioral issues.

When it appears

Most perfectly healthy babies get a mild case of jaundice within two to four days of life and many times it simply goes away on its own.

Breastfed babies tend to have jaundice until about 10 days to two weeks after birth. Sometimes however, the jaundice remains the entire time baby is being breastfed.

Breastfed babies tend to have jaundice more than non-breastfed babies because they often get dehydrated between feedings making it harder for their bodies to get rid of excess bilirubin.

If you notice baby’s skin tone becoming more yellow, call your doctor right away.

How to treat jaundice

More often than not, jaundice simply goes away on it’s own. However, your doctor may advise you to keep baby in indirect light such as a bassinette or swing placed by a large sunny window. Breastfeeding mothers can try to nurse baby more often to keep his body hydrated enough to keep ridding itself of the excess bilirubin.

In some rare cases, baby may need to be put under a fluorescent light for phototherapy treatment. If your baby is experiencing jaundice, it is very important to keep up with those first early well checks with his pediatrician.

More on baby’s health

Breastfeeding babies offers them long-term heart-health benefits
5 Tips to keep baby healthy during flu season
Protect baby from pertussis

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