Jaundice

If your baby has jaundice, it’s natural to worry but it often looks worse than it really is. Jaundice is very common, often appearing in the first two or three days after birth. It’s important to remember that your baby isn’t in any discomfort from it and it will probably disappear naturally in a few days.

What is jaundice?

When babies are born they have a high level of a chemical called bilirubin in their blood. Sometimes it can take a few days for their liver to break this down, resulting in jaundice.

Jaundice affects around 6 in 10 newborn babies in their first few days of life so it really is quite common. If your baby has it, their skin will be a yellowish-green colour or the whites of their eyes will look yellow.

How long does jaundice last?

Your baby’s skin should turn back to a healthier colour within a few days or after a week. Breastfeeding may also help, due to there being a natural substance in your milk – so if you are feeding this way, just feed on demand!

If the jaundice is prolonged and your baby is still jaundiced after two weeks, speak to your doctor.

What can you do to treat jaundice?

A mild case of jaundice should disappear on its own without any treatment.

If it continues, your doctor may decide that your baby would benefit from phototherapy – a treatment that involves absorbing light from an ultraviolet lamp, called a bili-lamp, for a couple of days.

It’s important to let your doctor know if you notice the signs of jaundice so that they can help keep an eye on your baby’s symptoms, too.