Your Baby and Jaundice

Jaundice is the yellow colour seen in the skin of many baby. This is very common for newborns to have jaundice and it can occur in babies of any race or colour. The main reason for the jaundice is the chemical called “bilirubin”.

Bilirubin could be found in everyone’s blood and it is removed by the liver. Babies normally take few days for their liver to get better at removing bilirubin. If the bilirubin level increases, jaundice may appear in the face, then following to baby’s chest, abdomen, arms and legs. You could also find your baby’s whites of the eyes become yellow.

Normally it’s not harmful to your baby if she has only mild jaundice which she would get recover in 2 to 3 days time. However, serious jaundice would also cause brain damage and this is very unusual situation where the bilirubin level gets very high. Therefore, for the newborn, hospitals normally pay more attention and check for jaundice before they are approved to bring home.

The good way to keep the bilirubin level down is to breastfeed your baby at least 8 to 12 times a day for the first few days. For the first few days, both mother and newborn are learning how to nurse and suck on breast, therefore if you encounter problem in breastfeeding, seek your doctor or nurse help. Generally your doctor would ask you to bring your baby back for check up when your baby is between 3 to 5 days old. This is where the baby’s bilirubin level is the highest.

You need to pay more attention and have follow up visit if your baby has a high bilirubin level before leaving the hospital. Don’t hesitate to call your doctor or send your baby back to hospital if you discover your baby’s skin turns more yellow and her abdomen, arms or legs are yellow also. This is where the level of bilirubin becomes higher especially when the whites of your baby’s eyes are yellow.

For babies have mild jaundice, they may be placed under a special ultra-violet light or wrapped in a fiber optic blanket for photo-therapy. This light allows the bilirubin to be broken down to a form that can be excreted by the infant’s kidney. Also to increase your feeding because more feeding frequency will cause more bowel movements and more bilirubin to be excreted in the stool.

The most common types of jaundice are:
- Physiological (normal) jaundice
- Jaundice of prematurity
- Breastfeeding jaundice
- Breast milk jaundice
- Blood group incompatibility

What are the tests done for jaundice?
Blood tests are done to assess the overall function of the liver. The test will also help to identify the type of jaundice and will show whether the synthetic function of the liver is good.
Other various clotting tests can be done to see if the liver is producing adequate proteins for clotting purposes too.

When does jaundice go away?
Jaundice often lasts for more than 2 to 3 weeks for breastfed babies. For formula-fed baby, most jaundice goes away by 2 weeks. Always see your baby’s doctor if you find the jaundice is very serious and last for more than three weeks.

Jaundice can’t be prevented and normally the amount of jaundice experienced by most newborns is not harmful. If your baby already has jaundice and the jaundice still increasing after had bilirubin check, you need to have plan to revisit your doctor and recheck your baby’s jaundice again. Do remember that high levels of bilirubin is harmful and may cause damaging to the baby’s brain.

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3 Responses to “Your Baby and Jaundice”

  1. ?? says:

    hello, Moon Mama…how r u recently?
    dunno how long i hv ever leave a msg to send my warm greetings to u n Baby moon.

    hope u hv a sweet X’mas n Happy new year ^^


  2. babymoon says:

    Hi Wei Wei,
    Welcome here again! Me and Baby Moon doing fine.
    Merry Christmas to you and Happy Year 2009! :)

  3. Moon says:

    hehe, i’m moon not weiwei .TT

    just wanna said happy Winter Solstice . ^^

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