Healthy Living

What Is Breast Milk Jaundice?

Breast Milk Jaundice

What Is Breast Milk Jaundice?

Key Takeaways

• Pale-colored skin and eyes
Weakness or lethargy
• High-pitched crying
• Pale-colored stools
• Poor weight gain

Jaundice is a very common disorder in newborns. Actually, about 60% of infants experience jaundice within the initial days after birth. It develops when there is a high level of bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is a yellowish pigment released when the red blood cells are broken down.

Normally, bilirubin flows through the liver and discharges to the intestinal tract. For newborns, nonetheless, the liver isn’t fully developed and might be incapable of effectively eliminating bilirubin from the body. When excessive amounts of bilirubin are existent in the blood, it could end up settling on the skin. This makes the skin and eyes to turn yellow.

Breast milk jaundice refers to a form of jaundice related to breastfeeding. It occurs 7 days after birth. The disorder can sometimes persist for up to 4 months, but it hardly causes health complications in breastfed infants. The real cause of this condition is unknown. However, it might be associated with a certain substance available in breast milk, which prevents liver proteins from efficiently breaking down bilirubin. This condition might also run in certain families with a long history of jaundice.

Breast milk jaundice isn’t common. It has been proven to affect less than three percent of newborns. When it occurs, it normally doesn’t cause any harm and eventually disappears on its own. It’s important to carry on with breastfeeding since breast milk is very beneficial to your baby’s health. Remember, breast milk isn’t linked to breastfeeding jaundice. It’s good to note that breastfeeding jaundice only affects those infants who constantly struggle with breastfeeding and lack sufficient breast milk intake. In contrast, babies suffering from breast milk jaundice can suitably latch onto the breast and get enough breast milk.

Any symptoms associated with jaundice in your baby should urgently be checked by a medical professional. They’ll ensure that no serious underlying condition is responsible for your newborn’s jaundice. Untreated jaundice in infants can lead to detrimental and serious complications, including severe brain damage or permanent hearing loss.

Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms associated with breast milk jaundice often manifest within the first week after birth. These might include:

• Pale-colored skin and eyes
• Weakness or lethargy
• High-pitched crying
• Pale-colored stools
• Poor weight gain

Causes of Breast Milk Jaundice

Babies are often born with elevated amounts of red blood cells and when their bodies start eliminating the older red blood cells a few days after birth, a yellowish pigment known as bilirubin is produced. Characteristically, the yellowing triggered by bilirubin vanishes on its own as the growing liver breaks down bilirubin. It’s removed from the body through passing stool or urine.

Doctors still don’t understand why jaundice affects infants who acclimatize well to breastfeeding. Nonetheless, it might be caused by certain substances in the breast milk, which blocks proteins present in the liver from suitably breaking down bilirubin.

Who Is Prone to Breast Milk Jaundice?

This condition often occurs in breastfed newborns. Since physicians don’t yet understand the precise cause of the disorder, there are a few risk factors connected to it. However, breast milk jaundice might be genetic; thus, a family history of the condition in breastfed babies may increase your newborn’s risk.

A lactation specialist might examine feedings to ascertain that your newborn baby is latching appropriately and that your breast milk supply is adequate. Remember, if your baby’s symptoms are severe, a blood test may be performed to confirm the diagnosis.