Home remedy for newborn jaundice: Natural Ways to Treat Jaundice in Newborn Babies


Natural Ways to Treat Jaundice in Newborn Babies

As you stare at your newborn wondering if he/she looks more like you or your partner, you may be surprised that your bundle of joy is looking more like a carrot instead! Jaundice in newborn babies is very common (and not related to delayed cord clamping!) and, in most cases, easy to treat.

We know it can seem scary, so let’s unpack it. In this post you’ll find:

What is Jaundice in Newborn Babies?

Jaundice in newborn babies occurs when there is excess bilirubin—a yellow tinged component of red blood cells—in baby’s blood. This causes the skin, and sometimes the whites of the eyes, to appear yellow.

Bilirubin levels are naturally highest 3-5 days after birth, so it’s most common for jaundice to occur within 5 days of birth. Jaundice affects an estimated 60% of full-term babies and 80% of preterm babies, and it’s more commonly seen in breastfed infants.

What Causes Jaundice in Newborns?

In adults, jaundice is caused by an overtaxed and poorly functioning liver or gallbladder. Jaundice in newborn babies is similar—it typically occurs because the newborn liver is immature and not functioning at its peak.

Here are less common causes of jaundice in newborn babies:

  • An infection.
  • Baby’s blood is incompatible with the mother’s, causing a reaction.
  • Problems with the digestive system.
  • Internal bleeding from birth injuries like cephalohematoma.
  • Liver malfunction or disease.
  • Certain gene mutations, like Gilbert Syndrome.

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Symptoms of Jaundice in Newborn Babies

Many babies develop mild cases of jaundice, and most clear up on their own as their livers starts to function.  Newborns with mild jaundice will have a yellowish-orange tinge to their skin.

Symptoms of mild jaundice in newborn babies can also include: 

  • Lethargy
  • Pale stools (here’s what baby’s poop should look like)
  • Dark urine
  • Trouble feeding or sucking

Moderate to severe jaundice in newborn babies can cause some serious health issues and can include the following symptoms:

  • Baby’s skin gets increasingly yellow
  • The whites of the eyes are yellow
  • The baby is lethargic or listless
  • Has trouble eating
  • Baby has lost more than 10% of his birth weight
  • Jaundice lasts for 3 weeks or more

How to Check for Jaundice in Newborn Babies

Your healthcare provider will check for jaundice following birth (hospitals will check every 8 hours or so) and again at baby’s initial well visit a few days after birth. But you can monitor baby, too.

To check for mild jaundice, put your baby in natural lighting and press your finger firmly but gently on their forehead. If the indentation looks slightly yellow, then it’s probably jaundice.

Is It Fatal for Babies to Have Jaundice?

In most cases, jaundice in newborn babies disappears within 2 weeks and does not require medical care.

But it is necessary and important to monitor any baby with jaundice, since complications are possible.

Fatal complications are rare, but if severe jaundice in newborn babies is left untreated it can cause: 

  • Acute bilirubin encephalopathy: A build-up of bilirubin in the brain that causes fever, lethargy, excessive fussiness, trouble eating, and arching of the body or neck.
  • Kernicterus (hyperbilirubinemia): A potentially fatal condition caused by acute bilirubin encephalopathy that causes brain swelling. If not fatal, it can lead to permanent brain damage.

If you suspect your baby has a serious care of jaundice, seek treatment immediately. 

Other serious, but rare complications include deafness and cerebral palsy.

Can Vitamin K Cause Jaundice?

Since 1961, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended a vitamin K injection immediately after birth to prevent a rare, but dangerous bleeding disorder (VKDB) caused by low vitamin K levels in infants. 

But some parents are skeptical. The injection contains 20,000 times the amount of vitamin K a baby is born with and 5,000 times the recommended daily amount. Since vitamin K is processed by the liver, which doesn’t begin to function fully until 3-4 days after birth, some parents worry it’s too much for baby’s immature system. (There has only been one reported case of shock from a vitamin K shot.)

There is also concern about the safety of the shot itself.  The shot solution contains lots of yucky additives, like phenol, benzyl alcohol, propylene glycol, acetic acid, hydrochloric acid, lecithin, and castor oil. Even the preservative-free version includes agents like polysorbate 80, propylene glycol, sodium acetate anhydrous, and glacial acetic acid.

Natural alternatives to the vitamin K injection

Because VKDB can be very serious, it’s important to research your options, talk to your healthcare provider, and make a decision that you’re comfortable with.

Since it’s extremely rare for formula-fed babies to have VKDB, a supplement isn’t necessary. (Always talk to your doctor before making important medical decisions.) 

For breastfed babies, you can look into an oral protocol with your doctor’s approval. Read more about that and other alternatives to routine newborn procedures here. The point is: You want to provide some type of protection for your baby—VKDB can be fatal, and is on the rise.

Natural Treatments for Jaundice in Newborn Babies

1. Feeding frequently

Feeding your baby frequently can help him kickstart his liver and process the excess red blood cells in his system. As a result, breastfed babies are at increased risk of developing jaundice. During the first few days, baby is receiving colostrum, a nutrient-dense “pre-milk” that is very concentrated and not very copious (only a few tablespoons will satiate a baby!). Compare that with several ounces of formula, you can see why breastfed babies are more at risk.

However, do your best to breastfeed your baby as frequently as possible (without forcing baby to eat!), as this will help her flush the excess bilirubin from her system. If you’re bottle feeding, just make sure baby is getting enough formula. (See this post for the healthiest formula options.)

2. Sunlight

The blue light spectrum found naturally in sunlight helps to break down excess bilirubin to help the body excrete it. Stripping baby down to his diaper and putting him in a sunny spot will do the trick. (Of course you’ll want to be mindful of baby getting too much sun or burning!). In moderate to severe cases, phototherapy—special lights that mimic sunlight to help dissolve excess bilirubin—may be necessary. Talk to your pediatrician.

3. Vitamin D

One study found that babies with jaundice had significantly lower levels of vitamin D compared to the non-jaundiced group. Breastfed moms can supplement with 6,400 IU of vitamin D, which will pass into her milk and boost baby’s levels (source). Placing baby in a sunny spot, as mentioned above, may also help vitamin D levels.

4. Probiotics

A meta-analysis found that probiotic supplementation in newborns helped to significantly improve jaundice symptoms. The probiotics decreased bilirubin levels that cause jaundice and helped the body clear out excess bilirubin. (Find the best probiotics for babies here.)

5. Magnesium

In one study, pregnant women who took 250 mg of magnesium daily for 6 weeks had babies with a 20.6% reduction in excess bilirubin—the red blood cells that can cause jaundice in newborn babies. Try adding these magnesium-rich foods to your diet if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

6. Barely Seed Flour

As odd as it may sound, researchers found that barley seed flour sifted over a baby’s skin along with light exposure improved jaundice in newborn babies. The barley flour helps decrease indirect bilirubin levels and functions as an antioxidant. This traditional Iranian remedy probably won’t be effective on its own, but it can boost the effects of light therapy.

When Phototherapy Might Be Necessary

When jaundice in newborn babies becomes more severe, and more intensive interventions are necessary, the most common treatment is phototherapy, where the jaundiced baby is placed under an artificial blue light. The light amplifies the effects of sunlight to help break up the bilirubin into molecules that are easily excreted from the body.

Risks of Phototherapy

Phototherapy is a common method of treatment for jaundice in newborn babies, and in the vast majority of cases, is without complications. But there are a few rare risks parents should be aware of:

1. Discoloration

Bronze Baby Syndrome is a rare complication that occurs as a result of phototherapy. Babies who develop this condition get a dark grayish brown discoloration to skin, urine, and serum. No treatment is necessary—it will slowly disappear once phototherapy is discontinued.

2. Purpuric light eruption

In rare cases, babies with cholestatic jaundice may develop blisters or lesions on their skin as a result of phototherapy.

How to Maximize Phototherapy Results and Safety

If your jaundiced baby needs phototherapy, there are ways to maximize the effectiveness and decrease side effects.

Use protective eyewear: It is standard practice for baby to wear protective eyewear during phototherapy, but something parents may want to confirm with their healthcare provider.

Massage: One study found that when phototherapy was combined with massage, bilirubin levels and frequency of bowel movements improved compared to the phototherapy only group.

Feed baby before and after: In addition to being a source of comfort for baby, there is evidence that breast milk contains antioxidants to help baby’s body defend itself from certain health conditions.

Barley See Flour: As mentioned above, dusting barley seed flour on baby’s skin before a phototherapy session can more efficiently decreases bilirubin levels.

What If Phototherapy Doesn’t Work?

Newborn babies who don’t respond well to phototherapy may have an underlying condition, like a urinary tract infection (UTI). In this case, the UTI will need treated in order for the jaundice to clear.

If other conditions are ruled out, your baby’s doctor may recommend an IV if phototherapy isn’t cutting it.

The need for blood transfusions or immunoglobulin, a protein in the blood that reduces antibody levels, is rare but may be recommended in severe cases.

A Note About Phototherapy

Jaundice in newborns can take new parents by surprise. It’s scary to see such a little baby’s skin turn yellow. Remember that jaundice in newborn babies is a treatable condition and generally without complications. Talk to your healthcare provider to come up with a treatment plan that’s right for your baby and make sure to give your newborn a few extra snuggles. Hang in there, mama! ?

How About You?

Did your baby have jaundice? How long did it last? Share your story below.

Top 10 Home Remedies for Jaundice in Newborn Baby

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Jaundice is very common among newborns. It occurs when the bilirubin level in the blood is high. Usually, jaundice in newborns is harmless. It easily gets cured on its own within a span of one to two weeks after the birth of the baby. But if the bilirubin level remains high, the baby should be hospitalised. There are some remedies that one can try to treat jaundice in newborns. However, one should consult a doctor before trying these remedies.

Natural Ways to Treat Jaundice in Newborns

It is normal for a baby to be suffering from jaundice when he is born. There are several modes of treatment that you can try to treat jaundice in newborns. Below is a list of remedies that you can try to treat jaundice in newborns.

1. Breastfeed your baby frequently.

If your newborn baby has jaundice, feed him frequently. Breastfeeding your little one frequently will help eliminate the bilirubin from his bloodstream and flush it out through stool and urine. Babies with jaundice sleep a lot; if your baby has jaundice, he might sleep a lot, too. Wake him up at regular intervals to feed him.

Also, mothers must consume a healthy diet when breastfeeding their newborns. Freshly prepared, nutritious, balanced meals can ensure that. Therefore, include green leafy vegetables, a small portion of seafood with low-mercury levels per week, foods with healthy fats, seeds, nuts, fruits, well-cooked meat, and a healthy dose of fibre-rich starches.

Another thing that can also help mothers establish a breastfeeding relationship with their newborns is skin-to-skin contact. It helps initiate breastfeeding and set a breastfeeding schedule early on, which in turn aid in decreasing the bilirubin levels.

Optimising breastfeeding support is also necessary to ensure the child is breastfed exclusively on schedule. Therefore, ensure you form a tight support system that includes your close family and peer groups.

2. Make your little one bask in the sun.

If your baby has jaundice, keep him in the sunlight for 1-2 hours daily. However, see to it that the baby receives the slanting rays of the sun before 8 o’clock in the morning. The rays of the sun will help reduce the bilirubin content in the blood and cure jaundice.

3. Regularise baby massage.

A study revealed that soothing oil massages along with some time in the gentle morning sunlight every day could improve the frequency of bowel movement in babies and aid the elimination of bilirubin by reducing enterohepatic circulation.

4. Use supplements.

Newborn babies with jaundice should be fed more in comparison to babies who have no such health issues. In case breast milk is not enough for your bundle of joy, you can give him infant formula milk. An inadequate intake of milk results in dehydration and fewer bowel movements in the newborn, and it eventually leads to decreased bilirubin excretion from the body.

Sometimes, a newborn may suffer from jaundice because of drinking the mother’s breast milk. Certain chemicals in breast milk are thought to be responsible, but it is usually a harmless condition that resolves spontaneously. Mothers typically do not have to discontinue breastfeeding.

Majority of the newborns are born with jaundice and it hardly requires any treatment. Within a week or two, jaundice gets cured on its own. For mild jaundice, you can take the help of home remedies (of course, after consulting a doctor). But if the bilirubin level keeps on increasing, you must immediately take your newborn to the doctor. There is no reason to worry if your little one gets it; however, it shouldn’t be left untreated.

Also Read: Common Baby Problems and Remedies

6 Natural Ways to Treat Newborn Jaundice

Newborn babies have many little quirks about them when they are born, one of which is often a yellowish tint called jaundice. Many new parents are alarmed when they bring baby home and notice a yellowing of the eyes and skin. Still, physiological jaundice is actually a common condition in newborns and can often be easily treated with natural, at-home remedies.

So why, exactly, does jaundice occur? According to The Mayo Clinic, jaundice occurs due to an excess of bilirubin, a yellow pigment of the red blood cells. Most of the time, the baby’s liver just needs to mature a bit for jaundice to go away. Rarely, an infection could be causing the yellow color. Either way, be sure to inform your pediatrician of any symptoms you see to avoid further complications, especially since the onset of jaundice before baby’s second day of life can be a dangerous sign.

If your new bundle of joy does contract jaundice, here are a few natural ways to help treat the common condition.

Natural Ways to Treat Newborn Jaundice

Sit Near the Window

Sunlight is one of the best ways to remove jaundice from a newborn baby. Position your glider or chair near a window, so the baby gets some natural light while feeding, burping, or just laying with you. If the weather allows it, go for walks and allow the sun to touch your baby’s skin (just be sure they aren’t overheating or getting a sunburn!). Even if it is overcast outside, your baby can still benefit from the natural light, so open those shades and let the light in!

Feed Them Often

You may already feel like you are doing this as a new mama, but feeding your baby often is one of the best ways to eliminate jaundice. The goal is to help the liver better rid itself of the bilirubin. So, the more often baby poops, the more you should see the yellow subsiding.

Take Vitamin D

If you are breastfeeding your baby, any vitamins you take will pass to your baby through your milk. If you have a newborn suffering from jaundice, consider adding vitamin D to your diet, either through the foods you eat or through a supplement. Vitamin D is said to boost their levels and help get rid of bilirubin.

Know Your Supply

Jaundice can be more common in breastfed babies because they aren’t getting enough milk due to mama’s milk coming in late or an improper latch. The first thing you need to do is seek a lactation consultant’s assistance to correct the latch or other feeding issues. Next, also consider supplementing feedings with donor milk or formula. Speak with your pediatrician to better know how well your baby is being fed and whether this is a necessary step, even if just for the short term.

Supplement With Probiotics

A meta-analysis has shown that probiotic supplementation in newborns can significantly reduce bilirubin levels. You can either up your probiotic intake and let baby get some of it to get it through your breast milk or give a special infant supplement directly to your baby.

Increase Your Magnesium Intake

Studies have shown that women who take at least 250 mg of magnesium during pregnancy had a 20% reduction of excess bilirubin in their newborn babies. Start taking a magnesium supplement like this one or increase your intake of magnesium-rich foods.

If you try all of these natural remedies and are still seeing signs of jaundice, do not let it go untreated. Most babies will naturally get rid of the extra bilirubin on their own, but that is not always the case. When in doubt, always take them over to the pediatrician to take a look. Most importantly, though, don’t fret—the yellow tint can be worrying for new moms and dads, but your baby is just as adorable and will soon be yellow-free!

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16 Home Remedies To Treat Jaundice + Prevention And What To Eat

Jaundice is the medical term used for yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes. This yellowness is a result of high bilirubin levels in the blood. Although it is not a disease in itself, it may be an indication of an underlying medical condition. Wondering if there are any home remedies that may aid in treating jaundice naturally? Scroll down to find out.

Best Home Remedies To Treat Jaundice

1. Sunlight

Phototherapy is a widely used treatment to treat jaundice in infants. However, data suggests exposure to sunlight is 6.5 times more effective than phototherapy while treating jaundice (1).

2. Sugarcane Juice

Sugarcane juice has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antihyperglycemic, diuretic, and hepatoprotective effects (2). This may help in strengthening the liver and aid in treating jaundice.

You Will Need

1-2 glasses of sugarcane juice

What You Have To Do

Drink one to two glasses of sugarcane juice.

How Often You Should Do This

Consume this daily.

3. Essential Oils

a. Rosemary Essential Oil

Rosemary essential oil exhibits detoxifying and hepatoprotective effects (3). Hence, it may be suitable for treating jaundice.

You Will Need

  • 12 drops of rosemary oil
  • 30 mL of any carrier oil (coconut or jojoba oil)

What You Have To Do

  1. Mix 12 drops of rosemary oil with 30 mL of any carrier oil.
  2. Apply this mixture topically to your abdomen and liver area and massage gently.
  3. Leave it on and allow it to be absorbed.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this once a day until you notice any visible improvement.

b. Lemon Essential Oil

Lemon essential oil is known for its protective action against liver injuries (4). It also exhibits antioxidant properties (5). These properties of lemon essential oil may help in treating jaundice and promoting liver health.

You Will Need

  • 12 drops of lemon essential oil
  • 30 mL of any carrier oil (coconut or olive oil)

What You Have To Do

  1. Add 12 drops of lemon essential oil to 30 mL of a carrier oil of your choice.
  2. Mix well and apply it all over your abdomen and right above your liver area.
  3. Leave it on until it is completely absorbed.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this once a day.

4. Goat Milk

Goat milk is rich in many vital nutrients that are beneficial to both adults and infants (6). The presence of antibodies in it helps in treating jaundice.

You Will Need

1 cup of goat milk

What You Have To Do

Consume a cup of goat milk.

How Often You Should Do This

Consume this daily.

5. Green Grape Juice

Green grapes exhibit antioxidant properties and contain fiber (7). This can ease digestion and help prevent liver damage during metabolism. The liver-friendly nutrients in grapes can help in the treatment of jaundice.

You Will Need

1 cup of green grape juice

What You Have To Do

  1. Consume a cup of green grape juice.
  2. You can feed infants with the juice extracted from two to three grapes.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this daily.

6. Garlic

The allicin in garlic exhibits strong antioxidant properties (8). This may help in detoxifying the liver, speeding up the recovery from jaundice.

You Will Need

3-4 cloves of minced garlic

What You Have To Do

  1. Add a few cloves of minced garlic to your daily diet.
  2. Alternatively, you can also chew on the garlic cloves directly.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this daily.

7. Ginger

Ginger possesses powerful antioxidant and hypolipidemic properties (9). It boosts liver function and may help in treating jaundice.

You Will Need

  • 1-2 inches of minced garlic
  • 1 cup of water

What You Have To Do

  1. Add an inch or two of ginger to a cup of water.
  2. Bring it to a boil in a saucepan.
  3. Allow it to steep for 5 minutes and strain.
  4. Consume it while it is warm.
  5. You can also add ginger to your daily diet as an alternative.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this daily.

8. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice possesses powerful antioxidants that help in unblocking bile ducts (4). This may promote a healthy liver and protect it from further damage.

You Will Need

  • ½ lemon
  • 1 glass of water
  • Honey

What You Have To Do

  1. Add the juice from half a lemon to a glass of water.
  2. Mix well and add some honey to it.
  3. Drink the lemon juice immediately.

How Often You Should Do This

Drink this 3-4 times a day.

9. Vitamin D

Since newborn infants are hardly exposed to the sun, they are often deficient in vitamin D. According to a study published in the Journal of the Chinese Medical Association, jaundiced infants were observed to be deficient in vitamin D as compared to non-jaundiced infants (10).

Breastfed infants need up to 400 IU of vitamin D daily. They can be given drops of this vitamin, or the breastfeeding mother can consume more vitamin D-rich foods like eggs, cheese, and fish. Adults can also benefit from this remedy if they are deficient in vitamin D.

10. Yogurt

Probiotic yogurt may help bring down the serum bilirubin levels by regulating bacterial colonies in the body (11). Infants may also benefit from probiotic supplementation. Hence, breastfeeding mothers may increase their intake of probiotic yogurt to aid the recovery of their babies.

You Will Need

1 bowl of plain probiotic yogurt

What You Have To Do

Consume a bowl of plain probiotic yogurt daily.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this daily.

11. Tomatoes

Tomatoes contain a compound called lycopene (12). Lycopene is a strong antioxidant and may help in the detoxification of the liver and treat jaundice (13).

You Will Need

  • 2-3 tomatoes
  • 1 cup of water

What You Have To Do

  1. Boil the tomatoes in a saucepan.
  2. Strain the mixture and remove the tomato skin.
  3. Mix the boiled tomatoes with the collected water.
  4. Drink this juice.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this once every day for a couple of weeks.

12. Amla

Amla is rich in vitamin C and many other nutrients (14). It is a potent antioxidant and may be used to treat jaundice (15).

You Will Need

  • 2-3 amlas (Indian gooseberries)
  • 1 cup of water
  • Honey

What You Have To Do

  1. Boil the amlas in a saucepan.
  2. Mix the amla pulp with the remaining water.
  3. Once the mixture cools down, add some honey to it and consume it.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this 2-3 times a day.

13. Barley Water

Barley exhibits diuretic and antioxidant properties (16). These properties may help in flushing out toxins as well as bilirubin through urine. Hence, it may be one of the best and easiest remedies to treat jaundice (17).

You Will Need

  • 1 teaspoon of roasted barley seed powder
  • 1 glass of water
  • 1 teaspoon of honey

What You Have To Do

  1. Add a teaspoon of roasted barley seed powder to a glass of water and mix well.
  2. Add a teaspoon of honey to this and drink the mixture immediately.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this daily.

14. Holy Basil

Basil (Ocimum sanctum) exhibits hepatoprotective activities (18). This property may be beneficial for the liver and may help in treating jaundice.

You Will Need

A few holy basil leaves

What You Have To Do

  1. Chew on a few holy basil leaves (10 to 12).
  2. If the flavor is too strong for you, grind the leaves and add the paste to your favorite juice.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this 3 times a day.

15. Oregano

Oregano is a powerful antioxidant (19). This may help in breaking down bilirubin molecules. This, in turn, may help in combating jaundice naturally.

You Will Need

  • 1-2 teaspoons of oregano
  • 1 cup of water

What You Have To Do

  1. Add one to two teaspoons of oregano leaves to a cup of water.
  2. Bring it to a boil in a saucepan.
  3. Simmer for 5 minutes and strain.
  4. Once the tea cools down a little, drink it immediately.
  5. You can also add some honey to the tea for added flavor.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this 3 times a day.

16. Papaya

Papaya leaves have been used in fold medicine for ages to treat jaundice (20). The leaves are rich sources of enzymes, like papain and chymopapain (21). These enzymes may support digestive health and treat liver problems like jaundice.

You Will Need

What You Have To Do

  1. Grind the papaya leaves to form a paste.
  2. Strain this mixture to obtain the juice.
  3. Mix half a tablespoon of this juice and a tablespoon of honey.
  4. Drink this mixture.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this 2-3 times a day.

Note: Consult a doctor before following any of these remedies.

Apart from these remedies, there are a few other tips you can follow to prevent jaundice. They are listed below.

Prevention Tips

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol.
  • Manage your cholesterol levels.
  • Maintain hygiene.
  • Drink clean and boiled water and eat fresh food.

Given below are some foods that may further aggravate your condition and must be avoided.

Foods To Avoid

Avoid these foods if you have jaundice:

  • Sugar
  • Meat
  • Dairy products
  • Salt

These foods are quite hard to digest and end up aggravating the condition. Hence, steer clear of them to facilitate faster recovery from jaundice.

Let us now look at the leading causes of jaundice in both adults and newborns.

Causes And Risk Factors For Jaundice

Jaundice occurs due to excess bilirubin in the body in both adults and infants. Bilirubin is a waste product that is produced as a result of the breakdown of your red blood cells. This compound is broken down and excreted through the stools.

Prior to birth, babies have a different form of hemoglobin that starts to break down rapidly after they are born. This generates high levels of bilirubin that need to be excreted from their body.

An underdeveloped liver cannot excrete bilirubin as fast as it is being produced, and hence, this might result in hyperbilirubinemia and jaundice in infants.

Other causes and risk factors for jaundice in infants are:

  • Breastfeeding jaundice that occurs when the baby is not fed well in the first week of life.
  • Breast milk jaundice that occurs when certain compounds in breast milk interfere with the breakdown of bilirubin.
  • Medical conditions like sickle cell anemia, liver disease, and sepsis.
  • Premature birth
  • Bruising during birth
  • Blood group incompatibility between the mother and the infant.

The causes and risk factors for jaundice or high bilirubin levels in adults are:

  • Medical conditions like malaria, sickle cell anemia, cirrhosis, cancer, gallstones, and autoimmune disorders.
  • Certain medications
  • Parasites like liver flukes
  • Exposure to different types of viral hepatitis
  • Hereditary conditions
  • Alcohol consumption

The following are some of the signs and symptoms that surface with jaundice in adults and infants.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Jaundice?

  • Pale stool
  • Dark urine
  • Itchy skin
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Bleeding (in the rectum)
  • Diarrhea
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal pains and headaches
  • Swelling (legs and abdomen)

The signs of jaundice in infants include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Poor feeding
  • Pale stools
  • Dark urine
  • Yellow abdomen and limbs
  • Weakness
  • Inability to put on weight
  • Irritability

Jaundice may be divided into three major types, depending on its cause.

Types Of Jaundice

  • Pre-Hepatic Jaundice: This type of jaundice results from an excessive breakdown of red blood cells, which overwhelms the liver’s ability to metabolize bilirubin.
  • Hepatocellular Jaundice: When your liver loses its ability to metabolize bilirubin, it results in hepatocellular jaundice. This type is often a result of liver dysfunction.
  • Post-Hepatic Jaundice: When there is an obstruction in the drainage of bilirubin from your body, it results in post-hepatic jaundice.

Let’s now take a look at the levels of bilirubin in adults and infants that determine the onset of jaundice.

Jaundice Level Chart

The most common way of testing the bilirubin levels is through a blood test, though an amniotic fluid test and a urine test can also give reliable results. The test measures the levels of both conjugated and unconjugated bilirubin.

The normal bilirubin levels in adults range from 0. 2 mg/dL to 1.2 mg/dL. Any levels above this are considered high, and the individual has an increased risk of developing jaundice.

Newborns should not have bilirubin levels above 5 mg/dL. Infants whose bilirubin levels rise above this level after a few days of birth are also at the risk of developing jaundice.

High bilirubin levels are not favored, and they must be kept in check to avoid health complications that may lead to jaundice.

Consult a doctor as soon as symptoms arise as jaundice can be a presentation of many severe diseases like hepatitis, liver failure, and certain hematological conditions.

Jaundice may take an ugly turn if the treatment is delayed for too long. Hence, it is best to start treatment while also following these remedies.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does jaundice last in babies?

Jaundice in babies, especially breast milk jaundice, may last anywhere from 3 to 12 weeks.

Why are babies born with jaundice?

Babies develop jaundice when the bilirubin levels in their bodies are more than the kidneys can flush out. High bilirubin could be a result of the rapid breakdown of red blood cells.

What are the best foods for jaundice patients?

A diet that includes fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains, and nuts may be great for those with jaundice.

How long should your baby be exposed to the sun for treating jaundice?

For treating jaundice in your baby, you may expose him/her to sunlight through a closed glass window for about 15 minutes, four times daily.