I’m officially become a father this week and one of common problem that occurs is infant jaundice. For new mother and father, we must know about infant jaundice and know how to cure it.
What is Infant Jaundice
– Infant jaundice is a yellow discoloration in a newborn baby’s skin and eyes. Infant jaundice occurs because the baby’s blood contains an excess of bilirubin (bill-ih-ROO-bin), a yellow-colored pigment of red blood cells.
– It is a common condition in babies born before 38 week and some breast-fed babies. Infant jaundice usually occurs because a baby’s liver isn’t mature enough to get rid bo bilirubin in the bloodstream. In some cases, an underlying disease may cause jaundice.
Types of Infant Jaundice
– Most newborns have this mild jaundice because their liver is still maturing. It often appears when a baby 2-4 days old and dissappears by 1-2 weeks of age.
Jaundice of prematurity
– It is common in premature babies since their bodies are even less ready to excrete bilirubin effectively.
– Jaundice can happen when breastfeeding or because the mother’s milk isn’t in yet. This is not caused by a problem with the breast milk itself, but by the baby not getting enough of it.
Breast milk jaundice
– There also jaundice caused by substances in breast milk that can make the bilirubin level rise. These can prevent the excretion of bilirubin through the intestines.
Blood group incompatibility
– There’s also jaundice if a mother and baby have different blood types as the mother’s body might produce antibodies that destroy the infant’s red blood cells.
Signs and Symptoms Infant Jaundice
Jaundice usually appears around the second or third day of life. A jaundiced baby’s skin usually will appear yellow first on the face, then the chest and stomach and finally the legs. It can also make the whites of a baby’s eyes look yellow.
Infant Jaundice Treatment
– Most cases don’t require treatment as it will go away after 1 or 2 weeks as the baby’s body becomes able to get rid of the excess bilirubin on its own.
Most frequent feedings of breast milk or supplementing with formula to help infants pass the bilirubin in their stools also might be recommended. In some cases, the doctor may ask a mother to temporarily stop breastfeeding.
If this happens, pump often to keep producing breast milk, then start nursing once the jaundice has cleared.