After birth, most of the baby’s red blood cells, called erythrocytes, disintegrate and become a waste product, called bilirubin. This leads to a condition called newborn jaundice in about half of all babies .
In these babies, the skin and especially the whites of the eyes take on a reddish yellow color between the third and fifth days of life. According to recent research, bilirubin is thought to have a protective function (antioxidant effect).
About one third of all babies continue to have high bilirubin levels into the third week of life, The latest information says this can be considered normal in healthy, full term, breastfed infants. Premature infants, whose livers have not matured, cannot tolerate high bilirubin levels. They need help to break down the bilirubin in their system. Photo therapy does this by exposing the baby to light under a special lamp.
The light decomposes bilirubin in the baby’s skin. Very often mother and baby are separated during photo therapy. However, some hospitals now offer a special bed on which mother or father can lie with the baby under the “bili-lights.”
This special bed is called a bilarium. In some places, “bili lights” are available at a pediatrician’s office or can be borrowed from the hospital and used at home, With normal neonatal jaundice, breastfeeding can and should continue. A rare form of jaundice, called breast milk jaundice, starts later in the baby’s life and lasts longer.
It peaks between the seventh and tenth days or later, Breast-milk jaundice is diagnosed by taking a bilirubin reading 2 hours after a breastfeeding and then discontinuing breastfeeding for 12 hours. If the baby’s bilirubin level drops after that, breast milk jaundice is the likely diagnosis.
After a short period off the breast, the baby can usually go back to breastfeeding, once her bilirubin levels come down, During this time, keep up your milk supply by pumping your milk, Unfortunately,
you must discard it. Once you put your baby back on the breast, her bilirubin level may increase slightly once more and then should decrease steadily.
If her bilirubin level rises while your baby is off the breast, breast milk is not the cause of the jaundice. Bilirubin levels in infants can also rise because of blood incompatibility, infection or for other reasons, which require urgent medical treatment.
Newborn Jaundice Cure