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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. After your baby is born, your baby's liver must take over this job. But many newborns can't get rid of bilirubin as fast as they make it. It can build up and cause 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 advice 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 advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) 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 advice 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 advice line if:
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Current as of: March 1, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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