- Physiologic jaundice
- Breastfeeding jaundice
- Breast milk jaundice (human milk jaundice syndrome)
- Jaundice caused by hemolysis or increased bilirubin production
- Jaundice caused by inadequate liver function (due to inborn errors of metabolism, prematurity, or enzyme deficiencies)
|Baby with Jaundice|
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- May be caused by the breakdown of fetal red blood cells.
- The baby’s body does not get rid of bilirubin very efficiently in the first days of life.
- Occurs in about 13% of breastfed babies.
- This type of jaundice is caused by dehydration and poor calorie intake. It may happen in babies that are not taking in enough breast milk.
Breast milk jaundice
- Occurs in only 2% of babies.
- It may be caused by a substance in breast milk that blocks the elimination of bilirubin.
- Caused by massive breakdown of red blood cells.
- May be caused by mismatched blood types in mom and baby such as Rh disease .
- This type of jaundice will occur within the first 24 hours of life. It occurs before the baby leaves the hospital and can be harmful.
Inadequate liver function
- The liver may be impaired by an infection or liver disease.
- This type of jaundice usually happens before the baby leaves the hospital.
- Prematurity—babies born before 36 weeks of pregnancy
- Brother or sister treated for jaundice
- Baby has a different blood type than mother, resulting in hemolysis
- East Asian, Mediterranean, or Native American descent
- Poor feeding with breast or bottle
- Large bruises or a condition called cephalhematoma (bleeding under the scalp related to labor and delivery)
- High bilirubin levels or signs of jaundice in the first 24 hours of life (before leaving the hospital)
- Certain liver enzyme deficiencies
When to Call the Doctor
- Yellow color gets deeper
- Yellow color spreads to other parts of the body or the eyes
- Jaundice lasts for more than three weeks.
- Is tired all the time or difficult to wake
- Sucks or nurses poorly
- Looks weak or floppy
- Arches his or her back or neck backwards
- Develops a high-pitched cry or fever
- Has convulsions or spasms
- Examination of baby’s skin
- Transcutaneous bilirubin (TcB)—a light is passed through the baby's skin to screen for high bilirubin levels
- Blood test—to check level of bilirubin in blood, may be done if TcB shows a risk for high bilirubin levels
Change in Feedings
American Academy of Pediatrics http://www.healthychildren.org/
The March of Dimes http://www.marchofdimes.com/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/
Maternal and Infant Health Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/
Clinical practice guidelines: management of hyperbilirubinemia in the newborn infant 35 or more weeks of gestation. American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;114/1/297 . Published July 2004. Accessed July 23, 2012.
Jaundice. Family Doctor.org website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/children/parents/common/common/756.html . Updated February 2010. Accessed July 23, 2012.
Jaundice in healthy newborns. Kids Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy%5Fcenter/newborn%5Fcare/jaundice.html . Updated June 2008. Accessed July 23, 2012.
Merck Manual. Hyperbilirubinemia. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy website. Available at: http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec23/ch264/ch264p.html . Updated February 2009. Accessed July 23, 2012.
Neonatal obstructive jaundice. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated February 2012. Accessed July 23, 2012.
- Reviewer: Kari Kassir, MD
- Review Date: 09/2013 -
- Update Date: 09/30/2013 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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