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The following articles cover topics that are of special concern to parents of newborns. They are written by trusted pediatric physicians and are consistent with the information and advice you’ll receive at our clinic.
Jaundice and Bilirubin
- Jaundice means the skin has turned yellow.
- Bilirubin is the pigment that turns the skin yellow.
- Bilirubin comes from the normal breakdown of old red blood cells.
- The liver normally gets rid of bilirubin. But, at birth, the liver may be immature.
- Half of babies have some jaundice. Usually it is mild.
- The level of bilirubin that is harmful is around 20. Reaching a level this high is rare.
- High levels need to be treated with bili-lights. That's why your doctor checks your baby's bilirubin levels until it becomes low.
Causes of Jaundice in Newborns
Physiological Jaundice (50% of newborns)
- Onset 2 to 3 days of age
- Peaks day 4 to 5, then improves
- Disappears 1 to 2 weeks of age
Breastfeeding or Malnutrition Jaundice (5 to 10% of newborns)
- Due to inadequate intake of breastmilk
- Pattern similar to physiological type
- Also, causes poor weight gain
Breastmilk Jaundice (10% of newborns)
- Due to substance in breastmilk which blocks removal of bilirubin
- Onset 4 to 7 days of age
- Lasts 3 to 12 weeks
- Not harmful
Rh and ABO Blood Group Incompatibility (Serious, but Rare)
- Onset during first 24 hours of life
- Can reach harmful levels
Liver Disease (Serious, but Rare)
- The main clue is light gray or pale yellow stools
- The jaundice doesn't go away
- Causes include liver infection (hepatitis) and liver blockage (biliary atresia)
Is this your child's symptom?
- Jaundice (yellow skin) in a baby during the first months of life
- The skin turns a yellow color from high bilirubin levels in the blood