Ever wondered why your new born baby has yellowing of skin?
If your newborn baby’s face or eyes have taken on a yellowish tint, do not be alarmed. Your baby may be suffering from jaundice, a mild medical condition that affects about 50 per cent of full term babies in the first week of life and about 80 per cent of premature babies.
Jaundice in newborn babies usually begins on the second or third day after birth and is caused by an excess of bilirubin in the bloodstream. Bilirubin is a waste product, produced when red blood cells are broken down. It is normally broken down in the liver and removed from the body in the stool. Although a common occurrence that typically requires minimal action, there are cases in which infant jaundice is indicative of an underlying and serious issue. Some conditions that present jaundice characteristics and warrant immediate intervention include liver disease, blocked bile duct or bowel, and hepatitis.
Symptoms of infant jaundice can also include :
- Pale Stools: breastfed babies should have greenish-yellow stools while those of bottle fed babies should have a greenish-mustard colour
- Poor sucking/feeding
- Dark urine: a newborn’s urine should be colourless
Some treatment options for jaundice include:
- Phototherapy (light therapy) – treatment by light rays.
- Exchange blood transfusion – the baby’s blood is repeatedly withdrawn and then replaced (exchanged) with donor blood. This procedure will only be considered if phototherapy does not work.
- Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) – the new born may have a transfusion of immunoglobulin; this is a protein in the blood that lowers the levels of antibodies from the mother, which are attacking the infant’s red blood cells.