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Neonatal jaundice is very common. It is characterized as the coloration of the skin and eyes. As such, it causes a great deal of panic among new moms all over the world. Why wouldn’t it, right? Your baby suddenly turns yellow. If that isn’t shocking enough, I don’t know what is.
So we’ve established this point already: it’s normal. However, we still want to know what it is, how to avoid it, and what treatment to use should your baby experience it. Let’s start, shall we?
What causes neonatal jaundice?
Jaundice is normally caused by high amounts of bilirubin in the baby’s body.
Bilirubin is a product of breaking down hemoglobins, which babies have a lot of considering it is the red blood cells that provide them with oxygen when they were still in the womb. Eliminating these high amounts of bilirubin can be hard for the underdeveloped liver of the baby. As a result, their skin and sometimes eyes turn yellow.
There are three types of neonatal jaundice:
- Physiologic jaundice
- Breastfeeding Jaundice
- Breast Milk Jaundice
Physiologic jaundice is the most common type. After its onset, which happens around 10 days after birth, it naturally subsides as the baby develops.
Another type jaundice is what we call breastfeeding jaundice, as it is caused by not getting enough breast milk. It can be solved by ensuring that your baby gets enough nourishment. For this, you might want to consult a professional.
Finally, we have breast milk jaundice, and we’re going to focus on it more in this article.
What is breast milk jaundice?
Breast milk jaundice is the type of jaundice that may be caused by a substance found in the mother’s breast milk. This substance hinders bilirubin from breaking down, which then causes the yellow coloration in your baby’s skin.
Although it is linked to the mother’s breast milk, experts don’t advise you to stop feeding your baby. Technically, there’s nothing wrong with your milk.
There are also important things to know about breast milk jaundice.
- Breast milk jaundice usually runs in the family
- Its onset starts after physiologic jaundice
- It can last up to 12 weeks
What is the best breast milk jaundice treatment?
In normal cases, breast milk jaundice will eventually subside as long as the baby is fed well and the levels of bilirubin are regularly monitored. You can say that it’s just a matter of time. However, there are times when it needs intervention. So the following treatments are done.
- Breastfeed more often. More breast milk will alleviate bilirubin levels.
- Phototherapy. When the bilirubin levels increase to more than 20 mg, phototherapy is usually done through the advice of a professional. There may be times when you will be advised to cease breastfeeding for around 24 hours if you do this technique.
- Supplements. Upon monitoring, if you notice that your baby’s bilirubin levels are increasing (take note that it should just be below 20 mg), you should consult a professional. They may recommend supplements to help the baby increase their milk intake.
Can neonatal jaundice be avoided? So far, experts haven’t found a way to prevent it from happening. If you’ve got anything more to add to the discussion, feel free to leave us a comment.