Jaundice usually appears about three days after birth and disappears by the time the baby is two weeks old. Premature babies are more prone to jaundice than the mature ones. This condition can also take 5-7 days to appear. It can also stretch up to 3 weeks. Jaundice also tends to last relatively long, especially for breastfed babies.
Treatment for Jaundice in Babies
The following are some of the common treatments for jaundice in babies. However, since treatment depends on the cause, you are advised to see a doctor first.
- Mild jaundice: If your child is healthy, there is no need to seek medication because bilirubin will be excreted normally.
- Moderate jaundice: A doctor may advise you to let your baby be exposed in phototherapy if the condition is mild.
- Severe jaundice: If the condition is severe, your physician will recommend phototherapy as the primary treatment. If the condition doesn’t improve, a blood transfusion will be another option to try.
- Breast milk jaundice: Research shows that breastfeeding will help treat jaundice if phototherapy fails.
- Biliary atresia: This involves a surgical operation that is done to connect a section of the baby’s liver to the small intestines so that bile can be allowed to drain effectively.
The Symptoms of Jaundice in Infants
If the baby has developed jaundice, his/her skin will become slightly yellow. This will usually start from the head and continue to the face and chest. In other cases, the yellowing can go all the way to the arms and legs. It is also important to note that it can be very difficult to notice skin color, especially if your child has a dark skin tone. In such cases, you should notice the yellowing in the following body parts:
- The whites of your child’s eyes
- The inside of your child’s mouth
- The soles of your baby’s feet
- The palm of your child’s hands
A newborn baby who has developed jaundice may also:
- Exhibit poor sucking during breastfeeding
- Have a highly-pitched cry
- Become limp as well as floppy
- Show a dark yellowish urine
- Have a pale poo rather that a yellow or orange one
So, when should you seek medication?
You should always take your child for jaundice examination within 72 hours of giving birth. This is important for it will help in identifying the signs and symptoms of this condition for early treatment. However, if the baby develops the signs of jaundice such as the yellowing of the skin, dark yellowish urine, high-pitched cry, and yellowing of the whites of his/her eyes after 72 hours of being born, talk to your midwife, health consultant, or GP immediately for advice.
What is the diagnosis for jaundice in babies?
It is vital that you find the underlying cause of jaundice in newborn babies using the following diagnostic tests:
Things to remember:
• Jaundice in children will appear as a yellowish tinge of the skin and eyes.
• About 6 in 10 newborn babies will experience jaundice.
• Physiological jaundice is the most common type of jaundice in children. This is caused by an excessive bilirubin in blood.
• Physiological jaundice will disappear the moment the liver starts functioning normally and if the baby is healthy.
• You should make sure that your baby is diagnosed with jaundice signs within 72 hours after giving birth.