Has your newborn baby just been diagnosed with jaundice? While it is normal for you to be worried and stressed out, Jaundice, or hyperbilirubinemia, is a common condition that many newborn babies develop. Although it is usually benign, jaundice can cause serious complications in newborns if left untreated. So, read our post below and learn how to deal with Jaundice in newborns.

Jaundice In Newborn Baby:

When neonates have too much bilirubin in their blood, it causes the skin and sclerae (whites of the eye) to turn yellow in color. Bilirubin is a byproduct that forms when the body breaks down old red blood cells. This is a normal and healthy process. Bilirubin usually circulates in the blood before reaching the liver and making its way into the gallbladder through the bile duct. When the body digests fats, the gallbladder releases bilirubin in small quantities into the small intestine. After stimulating the digestion of fats, bilirubin is excreted from the body in the stool (feces). Your baby gets jaundice when the body produces more bilirubin than the liver can metabolize and excrete out of the body.

Causes Of High Bilirubin In Newborn Baby:

There are many reasons your newborn infant has a higher buildup of bilirubin. Some of these include:

  • Since neonates produce more bilirubin compared to adults, they tend to have a higher turnover of red blood cells
  • Your neonate’s liver is still developing after birth. Hence, it doesn’t have the ability to remove as much bilirubin from the blood as it should
 
  • As mentioned earlier, bilirubin is excreted out of the body through the stool. However, when it comes to your newborn infant, his intestines absorb bilirubin. So, it does not leave the body like it normally should.

Jaundice in infants are treatable and usually is not a cause for concern. The neonatologist will check your baby a few days after birth for jaundice. Remember if the jaundice is severe, i.e. the bilirubin count is more than 25 mg, and you don’t get your infant treated, it could result in deafness, cerebral palsy or brain damage. In some infants, jaundice is indicative of an underlying health problem, like thyroid disorder or an infection.

How Common Is Jaundice In Newborn Babies?

Jaundice is more common among newborns than you can imagine. Estimates reveal 6 out of 10 babies develop jaundice after birth, and 8 out of 10 premature babies develop the condition. A premature birth is when your baby is born before the 37th week of your pregnancy. However, just one in 20 babies require treatment due to a high buildup of bilirubin in the blood.

Doctors still haven’t been able to find out why breastfeeding increases a newborn baby’s chances of developing jaundice. But in most cases, the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh the disadvantages. So, you should always breastfeed your newborn infant even though the fear of jaundice may be lurking at the back of your mind.

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