Many newborn babies have a yellow tint to their skin and the whites of their eyes. This is called jaundice. While you are pregnant, your liver gets rid of a substance called bilirubin for your baby. Once your baby is born, his or her liver must take over this job. However, many newborns cannot get rid of bilirubin as fast as they make it, and it can build up, causing jaundice.
In healthy babies, some jaundice almost always appears by 2 to 4 days of age. It usually gets better or goes away on its own within a week or two without causing problems. If you are nursing, it may be normal for your baby to have very mild jaundice throughout breastfeeding.
In rare cases, jaundice gets worse and can cause brain damage. That is why it is important to call your doctor or nurse call line if you notice signs that jaundice is getting worse. Your doctor can treat your baby to get rid of the extra bilirubin. You may be able to treat your baby at home with a special type of light called phototherapy.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: May 12, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & John Pope, MD, MPH - Pediatrics
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