When to Worry: Jaundice

How can you tell if your newborn has jaundice? Find out the symptoms of this common condition and how to make it better.


Does your beautiful new baby look a little yellow? It's probably jaundice. Jaundice is a common condition among newborns that causes a yellowing of the skin. The color comes from something called bilirubin, the waste product of red blood cells. It's normally removed by the liver. Because your baby's liver is still developing, bilirubin can build up. Here are three steps to take if you're concerned. Check your baby's eyes. Jaundice typically starts in the head and works its way down the body, but it also causes a yellowing in the whites of your baby's eyes. Feed your baby as much as possible. Jaundice usually disappears on its own after a few weeks, when your baby's liver fully matures. The more he eats, the sooner it will go away. Ask your doctor to evaluate him. All newborns should have their first checkup three to five days after birth when jaundice usually peaks. Your pediatrician can do a blood test to see if your baby needs special treatment. If your child has a yellowish cast and is sleepy or not feeding well, he needs to see a doctor right away. Very rarely, severe jaundice that's left untreated can cause brain damage. But luckily, jaundice is easy to treat. Your baby may be put under special lights called phototherapy. And before you know it, his gorgeous rosy skin will be back.

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