How to treat jaundice in babies at home: Natural Ways to Treat Jaundice in Newborn Babies


Natural Ways to Treat Jaundice in Newborn Babies

Jaundice in newborn babies is common and usually easy to treat. Here, natural ways to treat jaundice in newborns before trying other medical interventions.

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.

6 Natural Ways to Treat Newborn Jaundice

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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.1

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.2 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. 3

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

Sit Near the Window

Sunlight is one of the best ways to remove jaundice from a newborn baby.4 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. 5 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.6

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.7 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.8 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!

Newborn jaundice: causes, treatment, consequences, prevention

Newborn jaundice is faced by many parents. This is especially true for premature babies, but in babies who were born at term, this is also a common occurrence.

Jaundice develops in the first few days after the birth of the baby, and the change in skin color usually becomes noticeable on the 3rd-4th day, just when the mother and baby return home from the hospital.

Why does this happen and what is the difference between physiological neonatal jaundice, which does not require treatment, and dangerous pathological neonatal jaundice? We deal with doctors.

What you need to know about jaundice in newborns

Bilirubin is formed by the breakdown of red blood cells (blood cells that are responsible for transporting oxygen) throughout life and is excreted from the body without problems with the help of the liver. All body systems in a newborn do not work well enough, for example, the liver may not have enough enzymes to break it down and excrete it. Because of this, bilirubin accumulates in the blood, and the skin color becomes yellow. It happens that the whites of the eyes acquire the same shade.

Physiological jaundice differs from pathological jaundice in that the former does not require treatment and resolves on its own. This usually happens after the first month of a baby’s life. But the pathological condition is important and needs to be tracked in time. It affects the general well-being, has negative consequences, but with a competent approach, it is treated by a pediatrician or neonatologist.

Physiological jaundice – a variant of the norm In the first days of life, many parents experience yellowing of the baby’s skin. At the same time, nothing threatens the condition of children, and the shade of the skin is normalized after 7-10 days. The only thing that can overshadow the first days of a baby’s life is vomiting. Occurs against the background of a bunch of bilirubin with albumin to prevent the toxic effects of the first (1). But such a phenomenon is rare.
There are several types of pathological jaundice Conjugative jaundice develops due to liver enzyme deficiency. Hemolytic jaundice is associated with a change in the structure of red blood cells. And the problem of obstructive jaundice is a violation of the outflow of bile.
Things to pay attention to when treating jaundice (in addition to the general condition) The doctor first of all specifies whether the child has prematurity and other factors that can complicate the course of the disease, whether there is a hereditary predisposition to this disease. It is worth paying attention to the appetite of the baby, and his mother, the level of lactation is also important.
There is a “bilirubin encephalopathy” In this condition, bilirubin enters the child’s nervous system due to the fact that there is not enough albumin to neutralize it. The baby shows symptoms such as drowsiness, convulsions, and a weakened grasping reflex.
Jaundice is not contagious It cannot be transmitted by airborne droplets. The cause of the disease is the increased breakdown of red blood cells and the insufficient functionality of the liver, which does not have time to process bilirubin secreted in large quantities.
When phototherapy is used for jaundice At risk of hyperbilirubinemia, with physiological jaundice, with incompatibility of the baby’s blood type with the mother’s blood type, with an increase in bilirubin level above 5 µmol / l per hour.

How long does jaundice last in newborns

The duration of jaundice in a newborn depends on the characteristics of the organism. Physiological jaundice usually reaches its maximum on the 3-4th day of the baby’s life. Gradual fading begins on days 4-5, and on days 7-14, the child’s body completely copes with this condition.

– Parents are not always able to reliably determine whether the baby’s jaundice is normal or not. Therefore, this condition is given maximum attention by the medical staff (first in the maternity hospital, then on patronage), – explains Albina Yusupova, pediatric neonatologist Lahta Clinic . – Before discharge in the maternity hospital, doctors examine the child, determine the presence of jaundice, evaluate the skin color in dynamics, whether the yellowness of the skin / sclera increases or not. Often they resort to using a percutaneous method for measuring the level of bilirubin (it is he who gives such staining of the skin) or take blood for analysis. With high numbers, phototherapy is prescribed (a special lamp or mattress). There are no exact numbers for this, it depends on many factors: gestational age (term baby or not), the presence of cephalohematoma or bruising at birth, the color of feces / urine, whether there are concomitant pathologies or not, the blood type of the mother and child, how the mother eats and gains weight Baby.

In most cases, pathological jaundice develops on the first day of a newborn’s life. The duration may vary depending on the reason why the child suffers from this disease: sometimes the treatment takes 2 months, and in complex cases where enhanced therapy is required, jaundice can last up to a month.

Higher bilirubin levels have been reported in breastfed infants with large postpartum weight loss (≥8%), diabetic mothers, low gestational age, and drug induction of labor with oxytocin (2).

Causes of jaundice in newborns

Jaundice can appear in a baby for various reasons. Most often it is the accumulation of bilirubin in the blood. But there are other conditions that newborns face in the first weeks of life.


Signs of pathology:

  • deviations from the normal course of physiological jaundice (earlier or later appearance, prolonged persistence, undulating course),
  • appearance of pallor or greenish tinge of the skin,
  • increase in the concentration of total bilirubin in the blood serum,
  • relative increase in the level of the direct fraction of bilirubin (3).

Unlike physiological, pathological jaundice, as a rule, develops in the first hours after the baby is born. There may be dark urine and discoloration of feces, anemia, and pale skin. At the same time, the level of bilirubin is very high:

  • above 256 µmol / l in children born at term,
  • above 171 µmol/l in preterm infants.

This condition is called hyperbilirubinemia. The most common cause of its development is hemolysis due to the incompatibility of the blood of the mother and child for erythrocyte antigens.

Other causes

“Pathological jaundice can be caused by several reasons,” says pediatrician Anna Levadnaya, MD, author of the blog about pediatrics . – The most common is an increased breakdown of hemoglobin due to an Rhesus conflict or a blood type conflict between mother and child. Also, the cause of jaundice can be a pathology of the liver or a pathology of excretion of bile into the intestines. In addition, jaundice can be a sign of an infection, hypothyroidism (due to a decrease in thyroid function), polycythemia (an increased level of red blood cells in the blood), intestinal obstruction, or pyloric stenosis (this is a congenital narrowing of the stomach before entering the intestines, which makes it difficult for food to pass through). into it). It can occur with certain medications and for other reasons.

Hepatic jaundice occurs when a child’s liver is exposed to viruses or bacteria. It can also develop with hepatitis B and hepatitis C, blood sepsis. At this time, the liver and spleen increase in size, the baby’s urine acquires a more pronounced color. Hepatic jaundice is treated comprehensively, primarily by acting on the cause.

Violation of the outflow of bile can cause obstructive jaundice. This happens when the patency of the bile ducts worsens due to malformations, underdevelopment, or the appearance of neoplasms. Here, all attention should be paid to the place where bile accumulates and the reason why it accumulates. After all, it is because of her that the baby may show symptoms of jaundice.

Another cause is neonatal cholestasis. To confirm the diagnosis, it is necessary to make sure that the content of the direct fraction of bilirubin in the blood is more than 15-20% of the total level, an increase in the concentration of cholesterol, beta-lipoproteins, bile acids, as well as alkaline phosphatase and gamma-glutamyltransferase enzymes (3). This pathology occurs due to an increased level of bile acid synthesis, for which the newborn’s liver is not ready. It happens that neonatal cholestasis occurs for reasons not related to the work of the liver. For example, against the background of hypoxia or the development of cardiovascular insufficiency.

There is also the so-called breastfeeding jaundice. There are studies that show that in healthy full-term infants who are bottle-fed, the level of bilirubin reaches a peak on the 5th day of life and becomes completely normal, on average, on the 13th day, while with natural feeding, two peaks of bilirubin rise are possible ( 3–5 and 10–15 days of life) with a gradual slow decrease (4). Jaundice from breast milk (from which certain hormones that increase bilirubin levels enter the baby’s body) can last up to 6 weeks.

If the doctor makes this diagnosis, he must exclude the presence of hyperbilirubinemia. Because breastfeeding jaundice cannot cause it. If, when HB is canceled for 1-2 days, bilirubin begins to decrease, and yellowness disappears, the diagnosis is confirmed. But with positive dynamics, the abolition of breastfeeding is not required: it is resumed after 1-2 days. During the pause, the mother must definitely express herself in order to maintain lactation at the required level.

Treatment of neonatal jaundice

Physiological neonatal jaundice, as we have already said, does not require treatment. Sometimes pediatricians recommend supplementing such children with water, but only if lactation is established and using a spoon, not a bottle.

As for the pathological jaundice of a newborn, it requires mandatory treatment, which is prescribed by a doctor.

Phototherapy is considered the most effective treatment for this condition. For this, a special lamp with blue light is used: under the influence of ultraviolet radiation, bilirubin breaks down and is excreted from the body of the newborn with urine and feces. The intensity and duration of phototherapy depends on the baby’s body weight at birth and the level of bilirubin, which is constantly monitored. As a rule, three-hour sessions under the lamp are prescribed with a break of 2-3 hours. The newborn must be undressed, but the eyes must be protected, the boys also have the genitals.

In severe cases of neonatal jaundice, when the life of the baby is at risk, a blood transfusion may be indicated.

Doctors have almost abandoned the use of drugs to treat neonatal jaundice. Some of them, for example, ascorbic acid and albumin, negatively affect the functioning of the nervous system, the effectiveness of allochol and B vitamins has not been proven, and Karsil and Essentiale have not been sufficiently tested specifically for newborns (3).

– It is important to note that most experts now agree that the appointment of sorbents, drugs such as phenobarbital, Essentiale, LIV-52, the abolition of breastfeeding, UV (ultraviolet blood enrichment), electrophoresis or excessive infusion therapy for jaundice is ineffective ( and it’s not safe for phenobarbital), says Anna Levadnaya.

Consequences of jaundice in newborns

Physiological jaundice in newborns, as we have already noted, goes away on its own and does not bear negative consequences for the health of the baby. But the consequences of pathological jaundice in a newborn can be extremely serious, especially if treatment is not started on time.

– Too high a level of bilirubin in the blood can lead to brain damage, – notes Anna Levadnaya. – As a rule, this occurs in children with hemolytic disease according to the Rh factor, with an increase in the level of bilirubin above 298-342 µmol/l. And the higher the level of bilirubin, the higher the risk of encephalopathy.

Prevention of jaundice in newborns

The best prevention of jaundice in newborns is a healthy lifestyle for a mother during pregnancy, giving up bad habits, good nutrition.

In addition, the expectant mother must be tested for the detection of Rh-negative blood factor. Children born to mothers with Rh-negative blood are at risk for jaundice. After the birth of such babies, they carefully examine and monitor the content of bilirubin in the blood, and also determine the blood type.

– Women who may have a child with hemolytic jaundice are treated already during pregnancy. They are injected with anti-rhesus gamma globulin, and at birth, the child is immediately clamped on the umbilical cord and tested for bilirubin. If there are indications according to the tests, then the child is immediately put on phototherapy, – adds neonatologist Nadezhda Shurtakova . – The mother of the baby can also influence the fact that the child does not have jaundice. She needs to feed the baby more on the first day, try to get milk so that the baby does not lose weight. Jaundice often occurs with a large loss of initial weight. Bilirubin is a fat-soluble substance, and if the body of a newborn does not have enough fats, proteins and carbohydrates, then jaundice occurs at certain values ​​of body weight loss.

Mother’s milk is the best food for a newborn, it is easily digested, the intestines are stimulated faster, it is populated with beneficial microflora, the necessary enzymes are produced. All this helps the body of the newborn to cope with jaundice faster and more efficiently.

Frequently asked questions and answers

Nadezhda Shurtakova, neonatologist, head of the neonatal department at Maternity Hospital No. 4 (Moscow) answered frequently asked questions.

When is jaundice in newborns considered normal?

There are physiological and pathological jaundice. Physiological jaundice, which appears at the end of the second or third day of life, does not require treatment. Such jaundice is not pronounced and disappears on its own in 7-10 days. Physiological jaundice is present in 80% of children. Such children are discharged home without any additional examinations and treatment.

In what case is the child placed under the lamp and how long does the child need to stay there?

The child is placed under a lamp, for phototherapy, with pathological jaundice. The duration of therapy depends on what causes it.

Hemolytic jaundice of the newborn due to the Rh factor may appear already in the prenatal period, the child may be born with it and need an exchange transfusion. Such children are laid out under the lamp immediately at birth.

Jaundice caused by AB0 incompatibility (blood group incompatibility) appears at the age of 1.5 days. It is necessary to look at a biochemical blood test, and if there are indications, also put the child on phototherapy.

There is also conjugative jaundice, it, like physiological, also appears on the third day, but with it the amount of bilirubin (yellow substance) in the blood is significantly increased. Such children are also subject to phototherapy.

In different situations, phototherapy lasts from 1 to 4 days, usually 2-3 days, it is carried out under the control of biochemical and clinical blood tests. When the indicators are normal, the child is removed from phototherapy.

How long does it take to stay in the hospital if a newborn has jaundice?

Hemolytic jaundice lasts 5-7 days. We stabilize such children, wait for the end of the increase in bilirubin and then transfer them to another hospital. However, if treatment is started on time, the indicators return to normal faster, and the mother and child are already discharged from the hospital.

In case of conjugative jaundice, which may appear on the 4th day, already after discharge from the maternity hospital, children are admitted to hospitals from the districts.


  1. E.I. Yulish. Jaundice syndrome in newborns: approaches to therapy // Health of the child. 2014. URL: https://cyberleninka.ru/article/n/sindrom-zheltuhi-u-novorozhdennyh-podhody-k-terapii
  2. A.N. Goryainova. Jaundice in a healthy newborn: causes, course, prognosis // Medical Council. 2017. URL: https://cyberleninka.ru/article/n/zheltuhi-zdorovogo-novorozhdennogo-prichiny-techenie-prognoz
  3. S. Ergieva. Jaundice of newborns // Vestnik VolGMU. 2007. URL: https://cyberleninka.ru/article/n/zheltuhi-novorozhdennyh/viewer
  4. Gartner LM. Breastfeeding and Jaundice. J. Perinatol. 2001

Breastfeeding with jaundice | how to do it right

The experience of generations suggests that it is quite possible to cure the jaundice of a newborn only by sunbathing. After all, this is how our grandmothers and their grandmothers, and many people before us, were treated. The sunbathing method is old, so it seems tried and true. And mothers today do not see the need for phototherapy, believing that lying in the sun for a child will be much more useful than under the light of complex medical devices.

However, modern research shows that sunbathing is not only ineffective, it is also dangerous. Of course, it is possible to cure jaundice with their help, but only in theory. In practice, the child must be healthy as an ox to survive such therapy. Let’s see why.

Ultraviolet exposure

Many doctors recommend avoiding sun exposure even for adults, let alone a child. During sunbathing, not only useful, healing light, but also harmful ultraviolet radiation enters the skin. It is carcinogenic and causes cancer.

Unlike solar treatments, phototherapy involves the use of soft blue light, without any ultraviolet light. It best breaks down bilirubin molecules and is safe for the child.

Burns and overheating

Coming south, we try to avoid long exposure to the sun until the skin tans. However, we consider it normal to place the baby in direct sunlight as a treatment. Meanwhile, the delicate skin of a child is not yet able to defend itself from the aggressive effects of the heavenly body. Yes, and thermoregulation in a newborn is poorly developed. As a result, during “useful baths”, the baby will easily get burned or sunstroke.

Certified phototherapy equipment goes through many tests to ensure that the baby is safe. The thermal effect there is minimal, so burns are excluded, as well as overheating.

Unfortunate climate

Children are born all year round, and the climate in many places on the planet is far from sunny. In winter, the healing sun still needs to be caught. However, in summer the number of clear days also depends on the location of the windows, the weather. At the same time, the treatment of neonatal jaundice requires an almost continuous presence of the child in the light. To provide it with the help of sunbathing is simply impossible.

Restrictions on treatment time

Due to the risk of burns, heat stroke, harmful ultraviolet radiation, sunbathing should not be organized for longer than 15 minutes. But, even if it is possible to organize several sessions a day, this is not enough to cure jaundice. The minimum course is 96 hours, and the faster they pass, the less the risk of complications from elevated bilirubin. Phototherapy makes it possible to treat the baby with long sessions at any time of the day. At the same time, he is comfortable and calm.

Hypothermia and colds

Another risk of sunbathing is hypothermia. When lying in the sun, the child should be naked, which means that he can freeze. It is almost impossible to create a comfortable temperature during the procedure. But it is available to those who have chosen phototherapy: a heater can be placed near the lamp, and the device itself can be placed away from drafts and open windows.

Unpredictable effect

We cannot regulate the sun, so no one can guarantee the effectiveness of sunbathing. Sometimes the sun is too strong and burns the baby’s skin. On other days, on the contrary, it shines too weakly and does not help to remove toxic bilirubin. In general, even if the baby managed to lie in the sun 96 hours, no guarantee it will work. The photo lamp always shines in the same way with exactly the intensity that is needed. At the same time, its radiation is completely safe.

Discomfort for child and parents

Children do not like bright lights. Being under the sun, they cry, act up. Moms and dads also have to face inconvenience: they have to either bring the baby to the window, or rearrange the crib. Using a photo lamp, parents simply rock the baby in a special hammock, where he sleeps peacefully. The bed lamp is easy to move around the apartment, you can even take it with you to bed.

Complications and risk of hospitalization

Sunbathing is not effective enough, so the child needs additional treatment. As a rule, these are medicines, which, however, also do not always help to achieve the desired result. In the testimony of many, there is not even information that they can be used to treat neonatal jaundice. But there are side effects:

Why do doctors still use them? They follow outdated treatment standards that were developed in case the clinic did not have phototherapy lamps.