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Jaundice In Newborns


Newborn jaundice is excess bilirubin in your newborn's blood. Bilirubin is a yellow substance found in your newborn's red blood cells. Excess bilirubin will cause your newborn's skin and the whites of his eyes to turn yellow. Jaundice is also called hyperbilirubinemia. Jaundice may occur if your baby is bruised during birth, has a blood disorder, or has a different blood type than his mother. It may also be caused by infection, premature birth, or a lack of breast milk nutrition in your newborn.


Follow up with your newborn's pediatrician as directed:

You may need to follow up with a pediatrician 2 to 3 days after you leave the hospital, following your baby's birth. Ask for a specific follow-up time. Your newborn may need more blood tests to check his bilirubin levels. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.


Breastfeed your baby as early and as often as possible after he is born. You may use formula along with breast milk if you do not produce enough breast milk. Look for signs of thirst in your baby, such as lip smacking and restlessness. Try to breastfeed before he starts crying. You should breastfeed 8 to 12 times daily for the first few days to boost your milk supply. Ask your healthcare provider for help if you have trouble breastfeeding.

For more information:

  • American Academy of Pediatrics
    141 Northwest Point Boulevard
    Elk Grove Village , IL 60007-1098
    Phone: 1- 847 - 434-4000
    Web Address:

Contact your newborn's pediatrician if:

  • You cannot make it to a scheduled follow-up visit.
  • Your newborn has new or worsened yellow skin or eyes.
  • You do not think your newborn is drinking enough breast milk, or he is losing weight.
  • Your newborn has pale, chalky bowel movements.
  • Your newborn has dark urine that stains his diaper.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your newborn has a fever.
  • Your newborn is limp (too weak to move).
  • Your newborn moves his legs in a cycling motion.
  • Your newborn changes his sleep patterns.
  • Your newborn has trouble feeding, or he will not feed at all.
  • Your newborn is cranky, hard to calm, arches his back, or has a high-pitched cry.
  • Your newborn has a seizure, or you cannot wake him.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.