What If Phototherapy Doesnt Work
Newborn babies who dont respond well to phototherapy may have an underlying condition, like a urinary tract infection . In this case, the UTI will need treated in order for the jaundice to clear.
If other conditions are ruled out, your babys doctor may recommend an IV if phototherapy isnt cutting it.
The need for blood transfusions or immunoglobulin, a protein in the blood that reduces antibody levels, is rare but may be recommended in severe cases.
How Can I Prevent Jaundice In My Newborn
Jaundice in newborns is normal and usually cant be prevented. You can reduce the risk that your baby will develop severe jaundice by feeding them often. Frequent feedings stimulate regular bowel movements which will help your baby get rid of the bilirubin.
- Breastfed babies: You should breastfeed your baby eight to 12 times a day during their first week of life.
- Formula-fed babies: You should give your baby one to two ounces of formula every two to three hours during their first week of life. Ensure at least eight feeds in a 24-hour period.
Also, make sure your babys healthcare provider checks your babys bilirubin level before you leave the hospital. Schedule a follow-up visit during your babys first week of life to have the bilirubin level checked again.
What Is Jaundice In Babies
This is a liver related condition which causes the discoloration of the skin, whites of the eye, and mucus membrane due to the high levels of bilirubin. These areas usually turn yellow. When the babies are inside the womb they need additional red blood cells to mkmet the oxygen demands. These extra cells breakdown after the birth and produces a yellowish substance called bilirubin.
Bilirubin is a yellowish substance in the blood that occurs in the normal catabolic pathway. It breaks down the heme in the vertebrates. The catabolism is the most essential process which is the clearance of waste products that are produces due to breakdown of the aged or abnormal red blood cells.
It is most common condition in newborn babies. The medical term for jaundice in babies is neonatal jaundice.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Jaundice In A Newborn Baby
Although there isn’t anything you can do to prevent jaundice, it’s important to watch for the telltale signs and symptoms, especially since the condition may not develop until after you bring your baby home from the hospital. That way, you can seek treatment if necessary.
The main symptoms of newborn jaundice are:
Yellowing of the skin and eyes
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies be assessed by a pediatrician for jaundice again at 3 to 5 days of age. This is the time when bilirubin levels are the highest.
Jaundice often appears on the face first and then spreads to the rest of the baby’s body, including the chest, tummy, arms, legs and whites of the eyes. A good way to check is to place your baby in natural sunlight or under fluorescent lights and gently press her forehead and nose with your fingers.
If the skin appears yellow where you made the impressions, . The doctor will probably want to examine your baby and take a blood sample to look at the bilirubin levels in her blood.
Jaundice can be harder to see in babies with darker skin. In darker-skinned babies, the yellowing may be more visible on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, so check there. Also look at the pink skin inside your babys mouth in the gums and inner lips.
What Are The Symptoms Of Jaundice
Jaundice is very common in newborn babies. It makes a babys skin and the whites of the eyes turn a yellow colour. You may notice it between 1 and 4 days after your baby is born. It will first appear on your babys face and chest.
Babies who have higher levels of bilirubin may seem very tired and cranky, and feed poorly because they are too hard to wake up.
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How Do You Know If Your Newborn Has Jaundice
Yellowing of the skin and eyes is the most obvious sign of jaundice. Your baby will have testing done soon after birth to determine if their bilirubin is within a normal range.
Once you go home, it is important to continue monitoring for signs of jaundice in your baby. Additional signs you can look for include:
- Abnormal behavior especially tiredness or inability to wake your baby
- Dehydration no wet diapers within an 8-hour period or very dark urine
- Temperature unusually high or low temperature
- Worsening condition If your babys skin begins to grow more yellow or the yellowing spreads, contact your babys doctor immediately.
When To Call A Doctor
Most cases of jaundice are normal, but sometimes jaundice can indicate an underlying medical condition. Severe jaundice also increases the risk of bilirubin passing into the brain, which can cause permanent brain damage.
Contact your doctor if you notice the following symptoms:
- The jaundice spreads or becomes more intense.
- Your baby develops a fever over 100°F .
- Your babys yellow coloring deepens.
- Your baby feeds poorly, appears listless or lethargic, and makes high-pitched cries.
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After I Leave The Hospital When Should I Call My Doctor
- refuses breastfeeding or bottle feeding,
- is very sleepy all the time,
- has lost a lot of weight ,
- is extremely jaundiced , or
- jaundice that seems to be getting worse.
If your baby is having trouble with breastfeeding, there are many hospital- or community-based programs that support breastfeeding families, such as the La Leche League Canada. Call their toll-free breastfeeding line for a referral to someone in your community: 1-800-665-4324.
You may also contact a lactation consultant, public health nurse, and/or breastfeeding coordinator.
Symptoms Of Jaundice In Babies
The symptoms of jaundice in babies depend on the cause and severity, but may include:
- a yellow tinge to the skin, usually appearing first on the face and scalp
- a yellow tinge to the white parts of the eyes
- a yellow tinge spreading to the skin of the body
- palms of the hands and soles of the feet turning yellow
- unusual drowsiness
- feeding difficulties
- in some cases, light-coloured faeces and dark urine.
Talk to the maternity staff if you have any concerns about your baby showing any of these symptoms.
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Help My Baby Has Jaundice
A mother from our forum is concerned over her babyâs jaundice and seeks advice from other mums out there. Here are replies from experienced mummies who had encountered the same situation.
What happens when your baby has jaundice?
Mum asks: Hi mums, Any mums baby having Jaundice? I am worried as my baby is jaundiced. Please advice. â¨Thank You!
Why does jaundice happen?
A baby can develop jaundice when there is an excess of bilirubin in his blood. What is bilirubin, you may askâitâs a chemical produced during the breakdown of old red blood cells and newborn babies have higher levels of it because they have an access of oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Their livers are not developed enough to metabolise the extra bilirubin.
Jaundiced baby symptoms
Youâll find a yellow tinge to your babyâs skin. This is noticeable if your baby has fair skin. However, you can also look out for yellowness in the white part of the eyes. Also, your baby might produce pale poo or dark urine when having this condition.
Donât worry, jaundice is common and usually temporary without long-term effects. But if youâre truly concerned, please bring your baby to the pediatrician for a check up.
Mummies tell all
Loves HuiHui: Same as my case. Try bringing your child in the morning for a slow stroll can decrease the jaundice level.
Joanne Lam: My baby oso had jaundice..brought him go suntan dwstair my hse n his lvl drop too.
Newborn Jaundice: What Parents Need To Know
- By Claire McCarthy, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
Most newborn babies turn at least a little bit yellow. Known as jaundice, this condition is a very common and usually normal part of the newborn period. But in some very rare cases it can lead to a more serious problem. Thats why parents need to know about it.
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How Can You Care For Your Child At Home
- Watch your newborn for signs that jaundice is getting worse.
- Undress your baby and look at their skin closely. Do this 2 times a day. For dark-skinned babies, gently press on your baby’s skin on the forehead, nose, or chest. Then when you lift your finger, check to see if the skin looks yellow.
- If you think that your baby’s skin or the whites of the eyes are getting more yellow, call your doctor.
When Should I Call My Babys Healthcare Provider
You should contact your babys healthcare provider if their jaundice increases or lasts longer than two weeks. Symptoms of severe jaundice may include:
- Your babys skin turns brighter yellow or orange.
- Your baby is very sleepy, including difficult to wake for feeds.
- Your baby is very fussy.
- Your baby isnt nursing well or sucking from a bottle well.
- Your baby isnt making enough wet and/or dirty diapers.
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What Are Risk Factors For Jaundice
While most babies have mild jaundice, some are at a greater risk, including:
Babies born prematurely or at a low birth weight
Babies who lost a lot of weight right after delivery or had a lot of bruising or bleeding under the scalp related to labor and delivery
Babies of East Asian or Mediterranean descent
Babies with a parent or sibling who had a high bilirubin level and received light therapy
Babies who arent breastfeeding well
If youre breastfeeding, feed your baby every two to three hours, or about eight to 12 times a day. Feeding this often helps keep your babys bilirubin level down. If youre having trouble breastfeeding, ask your baby’s doctor, nurse or a lactation specialist for help. It takes time to get the hang of it.
Causes And Risk Factors For Jaundice
Jaundice occurs due to excess bilirubin in the body in both adults and infants. Bilirubin is a waste product that is produced as a result of the breakdown of your red blood cells. This compound is broken down and excreted through the stools.
Prior to birth, babies have a different form of hemoglobin that starts to break down rapidly after they are born. This generates high levels of bilirubin that need to be excreted from their body.
An underdeveloped liver cannot excrete bilirubin as fast as it is being produced, and hence, this might result in hyperbilirubinemia and jaundice in infants.
Other causes and risk factors for jaundice in infants are:
- Breastfeeding jaundice that occurs when the baby is not fed well in the first week of life.
- Breast milk jaundice that occurs when certain compounds in breast milk interfere with the breakdown of bilirubin.
- Medical conditions like sickle cell anemia, liver disease, and sepsis.
- Premature birth
- Blood group incompatibility between the mother and the infant.
The causes and risk factors for jaundice or high bilirubin levels in adults are:
- Medical conditions like malaria, sickle cell anemia, cirrhosis, cancer, gallstones, and autoimmune disorders.
- Certain medications
- Exposure to different types of viral hepatitis
- Hereditary conditions
- Alcohol consumption
The following are some of the signs and symptoms that surface with jaundice in adults and infants.
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Types Of Jaundice In Newborns
Physiological jaundice In physiological jaundice, babies livers arent yet developed enough to get rid of bilirubin.
This type of jaundice is very common in newborns. It usually gets better when your babys liver is mature enough to process bilirubin properly.
Breastmilk jaundice Breastfed babies often get breastmilk jaundice. This is when a chemical in the mothers breastmilk interferes with the babys ability to get rid of bilirubin. This type of jaundice often happens a few days after birth.
Breastmilk jaundice isnt harmful and usually sorts itself out after several weeks.
Breastfeeding jaundice Breastfeeding jaundice happens when babies get dehydrated because of problems with breastfeeding. They need fluids to reduce bilirubin levels.
Breastfeeding jaundice usually gets better when babies get more fluids.
Jaundice from delayed cord clamping or delivery interventions at birth Babies can get jaundice if theres been a delay in getting their umbilical cord clamped and cut. Delayed clamping can cause there to be too many red blood cells in a babys blood. It means that there are more red blood cells than normal for the liver to process, so the bilirubin builds up.
Jaundice can also happen because of interventions during delivery that cause bleeding and bruising for example, a forceps birth. The red blood cells from this break down and bilirubin builds up.
Babies with this kind of jaundice need treatment.
Babies with this kind of jaundice need surgical treatment.
How Can Newborn Jaundice Be Prevented
There’s no way to prevent the most common type of newborn jaundice. Most cases occur because a babys liver is not mature enough to get rid of bilirubin in the bloodstream.
You can reduce your baby’s risk of jaundice by:
- Getting a RHo-GAM shot if your blood type is identified as Rh-negative during pregnancy and again 72 hours after delivery if your baby is Rh-positive
- Feeding your baby at least eight to 12 times a day, which helps her have regular bowel movements and removes bilirubin from her body.
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
- What to Expect the First Year, 3rd edition, Heidi Murkoff.
- What to Expect When Youre Expecting, 5th edition, Heidi Murkoff.
Herbal Supplements For Moms
Supplements like Dandelion tea, catnip, comfrey leaf and agrimony contain certain substances which help in detoxifying. The mother can take these supplements so that it can pass on to the baby through the breast milk. These natural detoxifiers help in flushing out the excess bilirubin from the babys body. Mother should continue breast-feeding so that this mild treatment continues to work and help in getting rid of jaundice.