My newborn baby looks yellow, should I be worried?
Updated: Aug 3, 2019
Understand physiological jaundice
Fret not! Jaundice is common in newborns. 25-50% of them have jaundice during first 2-3 days of life, AKA physiological jaundice. This is harmless and resolves within 2 weeks.
Why does jaundice occur in baby?
Jaundice causes yellowing discoloration of a baby's skin and eyes, due elevated blood bilirubin level. Bilirubin is a yellow pigment from the breakdown of red blood cells. It is normally processed and removed by the liver. As newborn’s liver is not mature, it is not efficient yet to remove all bilirubin. Thus, excessive bilirubin builds up and causes jaundice.
How can I tell that baby is jaundiced?
Jaundice is best seen in natural light. Best to seek advice from your PD if you suspect jaundice. Hyperbilirubinaemia is the term used for high level of bilirubin, causing severe jaundice. This can potential cause irreversible brain damage.
5 important signs of hyperbilirubinaemia to watch out
1. Baby looks more yellowish
2. Baby is cranky or jittery
3. Baby is drowsy
4. High-pitched crying
5. Poor sucking or feeding
What is Breast feeding jaundice?
Breast-fed babies are at risk of jaundice, especially due to difficult nursing, resulting in inadequate milk intake. This occurs in first week of life when breast feeding is being established. Trust me, it will resolve with established feeds. So, persevere on, moms!
What is Breast milk jaundice?
Breast milk jaundice occurs from second weeks onwards and can last for weeks. There is no known cause, although doctors believe that a substance in the breast milk may block the breakdown of bilirubin. Discuss with your PD about supplementing infant milk formula during this critical period.
What should i do for baby's jaundice?
Mild jaundice will resolve within 1-2 weeks. Ensure good hydration with adequate feeds. This will promote more bowel movement to excrete the bilirubin. For the severe cases, phototherapy or exchange blood transfusion may be needed. These are safe treatments to help reduce the hyperbilirubinaemia quickly.
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