Jaundice in newborns is actually a pretty common condition and for the most part, there is nothing for you to be overly concerned about.
If you are worried or simply want to know more about it, here's everything you need to know:
What is it?
Jaundice is a yellowing of your baby’s skin and the whites of their eyes. It can also cause pale coloured stools and dark urine. In babies up to a week old, it is called physiological jaundice and if it lasts over two weeks it is called prolonged jaundice.
What causes it?
It is caused by a build up of bilirubin, a waste product produced during the breakdown of red blood cells, in your infant’s blood. It is pretty common in newborns because they have a much larger turnover of red blood cells. Your little one’s developing liver can struggle to remove all the bilirubin from the blood and some of it gets reabsorbed into the intestine before your youngster can excrete it.
Is it dangerous?
While it is important an adult or older child who shows signs of jaundice should be taken to the doctor, jaundice in babies usually resolves itself within about two weeks, even without treatment and is usually never cause for concern. However, prolonged jaundice can be a sign of serious liver disease and if it develops in the first 24 hours of your baby’s life or after seven days you should take them to the doctor immediately.
What can you do about it?
It is important you seek medical help if your baby develops it after seven days or 24 hours after birth as it could be a sign of an underlying condition. You should also call the doctor if your little one has a really white poo.
In extreme cases, phototherapy can be used to help speed up the removal of bilirubin or a blood transfusion can be done to replace some of your little one’s blood with blood that doesn’t contain bilirubin.
Always contact your doctor if you have any concerns about your child's health.