Jaundice is a yellow cast to your baby’s skin and the white part of eyes. The yellow tint is an indication that there are high levels of bilirubin in your child’s blood. The condition usually happens during the first five days of the baby’s birth. If you think your baby is at risk of developing the condition, then make sure the doctor routinely checks your child for jaundice within 72 hours after the birth. Many hospitals already perform a follow-up examination during that timeframe, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask and confirm that they’ll be doing the same for your baby.
Common Causes of Jaundice
Jaundice is a result of too much bilirubin in your baby’s body. It is a yellow substance that breaks down old red blood cells and is passed out of the body through urine and stool. When the baby is in the womb, it passes out the bilirubin through the placenta. Once the child is born, child must get it out of their system. If the baby’s organs fail to get the excess bilirubin out, though, then that leads to a condition referred to as physiologic jaundice. This usually happens 24 hours after the birth and gets progressively worse until the third or fourth day. The condition then goes away after about a week.
An infection or problem with the baby’s digestive system can also lead to jaundice, as will any incompatibility between the baby’s blood and the mother.
Signs and Symptoms
Watch out for signs of jaundice. If your baby’s face and chest have a yellow cast, and the baby is sluggish, cranky, arches their back, has a high-pitched cry and gets more yellow, then that ticks off all the boxes on the list. Talk to your doctor about any signs you see.
Jaundice Care for Infants
Jaundice is a common condition for babies. But if the bilirubin in your baby is well above the normal range, then your doctor can recommend several methods of jaundice care for baby patients. Ask about the possible pros and risks of whatever treatment the doctor advises. And don’t try to treat the condition by yourself. Putting your baby in the sun or near the window isn’t going to help dispel the yellow tint to skin.
Solve the problem by discussing the situation with a trained pediatrician. Learn more about jaundice care for baby from our doctors at Pediatrix.