What is it?
- Newborn jaundice (jon-diss) is a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes in babies. It usually shows up when babies are a few days old. Jaundice is caused by too much bilirubin (bill-e-rew-bin) in the body. Bilirubin is made from the normal breakdown of red blood cells. It is taken out of the blood stream by the liver. It leaves the body in the urine and BM.
- Over half of newborns have a liver that is not yet working normally. The bilirubin builds up in the baby's skin and blood. It is usually not a serious problem. Most of the time jaundice is gone in 1 to 2 weeks when the liver is older and working better.
Signs and Symptoms: The skin and the whites of your baby's eyes may be yellow.
Care: Your baby may need to lay under special lights. These are called phototherapy (fo-toe-thair-uh-p) or bili lights. The lights help to break down the amount of bilirubin in your baby's skin. How long your baby lays under the lights depends on his blood bilirubin level. Your baby's bilirubin level will be checked often.
Discuss your baby's treatment options with your caregivers. Work with him to decide which medicine and care will be used to treat your baby's newborn jaundice. You always have the right to refuse treatment.