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Health Guide about Jaundice in New Born Kids



Definition of Jaundice

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Jaundice in newborn kids is a common condition in which skin color and eye color changes due to presence of excess of bilirubin in the blood. It is a condition in which eye color and skin color changes and becomes yellow or orange. In the premature babies or kids, it is commonly observed that in the first few days, almost half of newborn kids suffer from mild jaundice.

Types of Jaundice

New born kids are affected by various kinds of jaundice. Some of them are described below:

Physiological (normal) jaundice- Most of the newborn kids are affected by this form of jaundice that occurs within a few days of birth and disappears within time span of 2 weeks. Physiological jaundice occurs due to still developing (immature) baby’s liver that processes bilirubin slowly.

Jaundice of prematurity-Jaundice of prematurity basically occurs in premature kids as they are unable to excrete bilirubin efficiently.

Breastfeeding jaundice- This form of jaundice happens when kids are not getting enough breast milk to drink. Reason being; either they are facing difficulty with breastfeeding or mother’s breast does not contain enough or any milk.

Blood group incompatibility (Rh or ABO problems)- Due to dissimilarity between mother and babies’ blood group, it happens that mother might produce such kind of antibodies that destroy red blood cells of infants. This further result in building bilirubin by baby’s blood. Therefore, health professionals recommend injecting Rh immune globulin injection in mothers within 72 hours of delivery that helps in preventing formation of antibodies.

Breast milk Jaundice- Normally, breast milk jaundice affects 1to 2% of breastfed babies. Formation of such kind of substances in mother’s milk that causes bilirubin level to rise is considered as the main cause of this form of jaundice in new born kids.


Symptoms & Diagnosis of Jaundice

Changes in the skin and eye color from white to yellow, changes in baby’s feeding habits, etc are considered as some of the most common symptoms of jaundice.

Bilirubin level: In order to diagnose the situation successfully, health professionals take blood sample of kids and measure bilirubin level in them.

Seriousness of the jaundice can be only measured after gathering facts like how many hours old a kid is, his/her existing medical conditions, etc.

When should to call baby’s doctor?

Seek professional assistance immediately if:

  • Jaundice in new born kids is observed within 24 hours of life.
  • It is spreading or getting worse with the passing time.
  • Kid experiences fever over 37.8 degree (100 degree Fahrenheit) rectally.
  • If kid is looking sick, not feeding well, eye and skin color changes to yellow, etc.
Immediate medical assistance aids in giving right treatment to the kids.

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Causes of Jaundice

Jaundice in newborn babies mainly happens when yellowish a color bilirubin level becomes excessively high and liver of babies unable to break and pass it down from the body. 

Liver of newborn babies unable to break down bilirubin level because of the following reasons:

  • In comparison to adults, newborn babies produce more bilirubin due to which babies’ still-developing liver are unable to remove bilirubin from the blood.
  • When babies produce excess amount of bilirubin, then before its disposal through stool it gets absorbed by intestines.
Presence of high level of bilirubin (above 25mg) in the blood causes serious complications like deafness, brain damage, etc. Therefore, it is suggested by the American Academy of Pediatrics that “Within a few days of birth, it is necessary to diagnose every new born kids for jaundice”.


Treatment of Jaundice

Although, in most of the cases, jaundice resolves itself, it is important to seek professional guidance immediately in order to avoid serious complications.

Treatment involves:

Frequent Feedings of breast milk- Breastfeeding babies in the first few days, at least 8 to 12 times in a day, aids in keeping bilirubin level down. As breast milk is considered as the most ideal food for the baby, therefore it helps in treating jaundice successfully.

Phototherapy- Phototherapy is considered as another effecting way of treating Jaundice. In this, baby is kept under ultraviolet lights that enhance liver’s ability to process bilirubin level in kids. Depending upon severity of jaundice, phototherapy treatment varies. Either baby is placed naked under 'bililights” or in “'biliblanket' he will be wrapped.

Exposing babies to sunlight is another method of treating jaundices in new born kids. So, by following these measures, jaundice in new born kids is treated successfully.


Jaundice in new born kids occurs when yellow pigment bilirubin level rises in the body. Appearance of light yellow in the eyes and skin is considered as main symptom of the condition. The condition can be treated effectively by a number of ways such a phototherapy, breast feeding, etc

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Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: April 20, 2012