When Should Mothers Be Concerned About Newborns Jaundice?
WHAT IS NEW-BORN JAUNDICE?
New-born jaundice is a yellowing of a baby’s skin and eyes. This is very common and it occurs when babies have a high level of bilirubin – a yellow pigment produced in the body during normal breakdown of red blood cells.
Fortunately, mothers do not need to worry much because new-born jaundice goes away on its own as the baby’s liver starts to develop as well as feeding is introduced. In most cases, jaundice will disappear within 2 to 3 weeks.
- Yellowing of the skin, eyes, palms of the hands or soles of the feet
- Dark, yellow urine (should be colourless)
- Pale-coloured poo (should be yellow or orange)
- Do not want to feed/ not feed as well as usual
CAN NEWBORN JAUNDICE BE PREVENTED?
Unfortunately, there’s no real way to prevent new-born jaundice. Mothers should have blood type tested and once the baby is born, the blood type should be tested as well, mainly to rule out the possibility of blood type incompatibility that can lead to new-born jaundice.
If your baby does have jaundice, there are still ways to prevent it from becoming more severe. Make sure your baby is getting enough nutrition through breastmilk, otherwise suitable formula milk. Feed your baby at least 8 to 12 times a day to ensure that your baby is not dehydrated. This helps the removal of bilirubin through stools.
WHEN TO CONTACT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
All babies should be reviewed by a doctor in the first 5 days of life to check for jaundice. Jaundice is an emergency and you should bring your baby to the doctor if the baby has a fever, has become listless, not feeding well, skin is bright yellow, or it continues to increase which last longer than 2 weeks.
Healthline Parenthood (2017). Understanding Newborn Jaundice. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/newborn-jaundice#prevention
Medline Plus (n.d). Newborn Jaundice. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001559.htm