How To Care For a Baby With Jaundice

Jaundice, it affects many newborns and can be a parents worst friend. 

This is because their digestive system is immature. Basically what happens is the billirubin, a yellow substance made by the body when old red blood cells breakdown, builds up and isn't able to leave the body through the urine or the stool.

Theres such a large build up that the skin begins to turn a yellow tint. When pregnant, the billirubin is removed through the placenta but without the placenta and your body doing all the work, the immature digestive system struggles with these processes.

Some symptoms you may notice would be yellowing of the skin and the white part of the babies eyes. Baby may also be more sluggish than usual and not be able to latch and suck to feed. They may be sleeping more often as well.

The main thing parents can do to help with jaundice is to continue nursing and feeding as usual every 2-3 hours. Baby needs to be able to rid the body of the excess bilirubin and one way that can be done is through urine and stool. Another thing that is often used is a phototherapy blanket or lights. This is a fluorescent light that helps to break up the bilirubin to make it easier for the body to get rid of it.

The blanket can be a little annoying but dress your baby in a onesie so that the cables can stick out of the bottom and not be a nuisance for baby. Because vitamin D can also help to break up jaundice, you may want to use natural sunlight. Putting baby in front of a window that does not have UV protection can also help. 

Make sure you check in with your doctor often, until babies jaundice levels lower and if you ever have questions or concerns about your baby, be sure to contact your pediatrician asap!

**Photo provided by: Christine Hurla Photography