I went through this experience with my son when he was about 3 - 5 days old. The fact that he was born with respiratory problems, he was needed to stay in the hospital longer than usual, which helps the diagnosis come early. To know that he needed to do one more treatment before I could really have him on my lap and breastfeed him, made me more sad and worried about his health in the future, in special because it was the first case of Jaundice in the family that I knew. After spoke with the doctor and started searching about Jaundice, my husband and I found out that is very common newborns develop jaundice in the first few days after birth.
Why is Jaundice common in newborns?
Jaundice is very common in newborns, because before birth the mother’s liver removes the bilirubin chemical from the baby’s blood. After birth, the baby’s liver may need some days to work properly at removing bilirubin.
Does my baby have Jaundice?
As I said before, new babies have a greater risk for high levels of bilirubin and may need to be seen sooner after discharge from the hospital. Visit the doctor if your baby has any of the following symptoms below:
- A high bilirubin level before leaving the hospital
- Early birth (more than 2 weeks before the due date)
- Jaundice in the first 24 hours after birth
- Breastfeeding that is not going well
- A lot of bruising or bleeding under the scalp related to labor and delivery
- A parent, brother, or sister who had a high bilirubin level and received light therapy
High levels of bilirubin in the blood can cause brain damage, so please visit the doctor if your baby has any of the following symptoms:
The principal symptoms are:
- Your baby's skin turns more yellow.
- The whites of your baby's eyes are yellow.
- Hard to wake, fussy, or not nursing or taking formula well.
The treatment depends of your baby’s bilirubin level, this can be done in the hospital or at home. In some babies, supplementing breast milk with formula can also help to lower the bilirubin level and prevent the need for phototherapy. In my son’s case, he needed to have the phototherapy done, as you can see in the photo below.
Treatment that involves placing the infant under special lights in the hospital for several hours.
I hope I have helped to take some doubts out with my experience, but please be sure to visit your doctor if you notice anything different about your baby's skin and behavior.