What Is Jaundice?
Jaundice or also known as hyperbilirubinemia), which is characterized by the color of the skin and eyes of a newborn, especially in the first or second week of yellow color. Jaundice occurs because babies are born with more red blood cells than they need. When the liver is damaged the excess cells produce a yellow pigment called bilirubin. Because a newborn’s immature liver cannot get rid of bilirubin quickly, excess yellow pigment is deposited in the eyes and skin of the newborn.
This type of jaundice is called physiological jaundice, because it is part of normal bodily processes. After the newborn’s discharge bilirubin system matures and the excess red blood cells are reduced, jaundice usually subsides within a week or two and leaves the baby harmless. Jaundice is more common in premature babies, who are less able to cope with excess bilirubin. (Read: Yellow Baby, Recognize and Beware )
In some situations, such as blood group incompatibility between mother and baby, jaundice may result from problems that go beyond the normal breakdown of excessive red blood cells. In rare cases, the bilirubin level can rise high enough to damage the baby’s brain. For this reason, if a health care provider suspects that something more than normal physiological jaundice is the cause of the baby’s yellow color, the bilirubin level will be monitored more closely, using a blood sample. If the bilirubin level is too high, the doctor may try to lower the bilirubin level using phototherapy, a special lamp that dissolves extra bilirubin in the skin, which allows it to be excreted in the urine.
Why Does Jaundice Cause Breastfeeding Problems?
Bilirubin levels were 2-3 milligrams higher on average in breastfed babies than in formula-fed babies (14.8 milligrams versus 12.4 milligrams). This difference is thought to be due to an unidentified factor in breast milk that promotes increased intestinal uptake of bilirubin, thereby returning it to the bloodstream rather than moving to the liver. Higher rates of jaundice in breastfed babies can also be related to lower milk intake in the first days after birth, due to sparse or inefficient feeding. It is common for jaundice to last a little longer in breastfeeding the baby, sometimes until the third week after birth.
While most newborn jaundice is harmless, common medical remedies for jaundice can interfere with getting breast milk off to a good start. Therefore, health care providers and parents should be careful about treating a condition where drugs can create more problems than disease.
In most cases, there is no need to treat jaundice when the bilirubin level is less than 20 milligrams. Most yellow babies do not need to supplement water, sugar water or formula milk. Avoiding breastfeeding for a day or two is not usually necessary to lower bilirubin levels. As long as your baby is healthy, jaundice won’t do any harm. If your baby’s jaundice is related to other health problems, breast milk can help to keep up with the baby’s nutritional needs.
What To Do With Yellow Babies?
Lowering the baby’s bilirubin levels also helps to lower the worry level of both parents and health care providers. The things you do to get breast milk off to a good start will also help you avoid problems with jaundice. Breastfeeding helps to remove bilirubin from the baby’s body. Make sure that your baby is drinking well and sucking efficiently.
Jaundice sometimes makes babies drowsy, so babies with jaundice can be treated with regular breastfeeding. You may also have to wake your baby during the day to encourage him to get breast milk. You can give breast milk to your baby according to your baby’s needs.
If phototherapy treatment is needed because of high bilirubin levels, talk to your doctor about alternatives to placing the baby in the hospital nursery under a phototherapy lamp. For most babies photo-optics bilirubin (a phototherapy lamp that helps babies) works well. You can hold and breastfeed your baby at home while the lamp dissolves the bilirubin.
Do not give expressed breast milk with added sugar water in the hopes of reducing bilirubin levels as this has been shown to be ineffective. It can even exacerbate jaundice, because babies’ stomachs full of glucose solutions can breastfeed less frequently. So that the bilirubin is delayed out of the baby’s body.
If your baby has jaundice, make sure you understand what type of jaundice your baby has. If it’s normal physiological jaundice, there’s absolutely nothing to worry about. If it’s jaundice due to a medical cause, such as a blood type mismatch, make sure you understand that it’s easy to treat and shouldn’t interfere with your breastfeeding.
In some breastfed babies, bilirubin levels can exceed 20 milligrams and jaundice can last well into the second week of birth or more. That this condition is a different type of jaundice, called jaundice, which is found in a small group of mothers whose breast milk contains is believed to interfere with the absorption of bilirubin. Treatment for the type of jaundice involved in a baby who is breastfed for 24 to 48 hours.
More recent studies have shown that high bilirubin levels and prolonged jaundice in healthy breastfed infants are only normal variants of normal physiological newborn jaundice. There may be substances in the milk of most mothers that inhibit the intestinal absorption of bilirubin, but whether the baby has a little or a lot of jaundice is mainly due to individual differences in both the baby and the mother.
However, some health care providers recommend a temporary weaning period (24 to 48 hours) to lower bilirubin levels. Work with your doctor to determine if there are other alternatives, for example, phototherapy, that will allow breastfeeding to continue without restriction. Make sure to pump your breasts every two to three hours so that you will continue producing milk and avoid breast infection. Thus, babies with jaundice can still be breastfed. To check the health of the mother and baby, consultations with a doctor can be done because every condition of the mother and fetus is different.