Breastfeeding and Lactation

Jaundice and the Breastfed Infant

What is jaundice?

Jaundice is a condition that causes your baby’s skin to turn yellow in the first few days after birth. You may also notice that the sclera (white parts) of the baby’s eyes are yellow.

The yellow color of the skin and sclera in newborns with jaundice comes from a build up of bilirubin. Small to medium increases in bilirubin are normal in newborns and will not hurt your baby.

Very high levels of bilirubin can cause hearing loss, seizures and brain damage.

Signs that bilirubin may be at a harmful level

If your baby has jaundice, it is important that bilirubin levels are monitored closely. If your baby does not drink enough milk, this can lead to increased bilirubin. You should see a lactation consultant to get help with breastfeeding.

Two key factors  

Tips to help prevent jaundice in your baby

What to do if your baby becomes jaundiced

Contact us

For more information or to schedule a consultation with a lactation specialist at CHOP, call 215-590-4442 or contact us online

Reviewed by: Diane L. Spatz, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN
Date: August 2012

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