What You Need to Know About Jaundice

You’ve probably heard a parent or two say their child is suffering/suffered from jaundice at some point after they were born.

Jaundice is a common condition which is described as yellow discoloration of a newborn baby’s skin and eyes. 

What Causes Jaundice?

It occurs because the baby’s blood contains an excess of bilirubin, a yellow pigment of red blood cells that remains in the bloodstream after iron is removed from the blood.

It could also occur as a result of an underlying condition such as acute inflammation of the liver, inflammation of the bile duct, or obstruction of the bile duct.

Babies who are born prematurely are more likely to develop jaundice than full-term babies.

What Are the Symptoms?

Symptoms of jaundice include;include

Yellow discoloration of the eyes and the skin

  • Pale coloured stool 
  • Dark urine
  • Itchiness
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Fever

When to See the Doctor

As a parent, it is important to visit the doctor whenever you notice that your child is showing symptoms of jaundice for proper diagnosis and treatment. 

What Treatment Can You Expect?

While most cases of mild jaundice requires no treatment, your child will need it if the bilirubin level is too high or is rising too quickly. In such a case, it is important to ensure that the baby is well hydrated with breast milk or formula. Frequent feeding for the baby is encouraged for frequent bowel movements, which help remove bilirubin through the stools.

In other cases, treatment usually involves photo-therapy, which is the use of special blue light on infants whose levels of bilirubin are very high. The lights work by helping to break down bilirubin in the skin. The infant is usually placed under artificial light in an incubator with only a diaper and special eye shades to protect the eyes.

In the most severe cases of jaundice, an exchange transfusion is required. In this procedure, the baby’s blood is replaced with fresh blood. 


Since jaundice is a condition that can be caused by different factors, it is not possible to prevent all cases.

However, there are certain precautions that one can take to minimize the risks of jaundice.

The best preventive measure of infant jaundice are such as Adequate feeding

Breast-fed infants should have eight to 12 feedings a day during the first days of life. On the other hand, formula-fed should have about 30 to 60 milliliters of formula every two to three hours for the first week. Read more about feeding your baby here.

Additionally, during pregnancy, a mother-to-be can have their blood type tested and after birth, the baby’s blood type will be tested, if necessary, to rule out the possibility of blood type incompatibility that can lead to newborn jaundice.



#Please note that development differs from one child to another.

#Content intended for educational purposes only, and should not be substituted for medical advice from your doctor.

Be careful when using any products mentioned on this website. We hold no regulations for such products or their providers.

Last reviewed March 2019 

Sources: aimu.us, healthline, motherhood101, medicalnewstoday

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