- Physiologic jaundice
- Breastfeeding jaundice
- Breast milk jaundice (human milk jaundice syndrome)
- Jaundice caused by hemolysis or increased bilirubin production
- Jaundice caused by inadequate liver function (due to inborn errors of metabolism, prematurity, or enzyme deficiencies)
|Baby with Jaundice|
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- May be caused by the breakdown of fetal red blood cells.
- The baby’s body does not get rid of bilirubin very efficiently in the first days of life.
- Occurs in about 13% of breastfed babies.
- This type of jaundice is caused by dehydration and poor calorie intake. It may happen in babies that are not taking in enough breast milk.
Breast milk jaundice:
- Occurs in only 2% of babies.
- It may be caused by a substance in breast milk that blocks the elimination of bilirubin.
- Caused by massive breakdown of red blood cells
- May be caused by mismatched blood types in mom and baby such as Rh disease
- This type of jaundice will occur within the first 24 hours of life. It occurs before the baby leaves the hospital and can be harmful
Inadequate liver function:
- The liver may be impaired by an infection or liver disease.
- This type of jaundice usually happens before the baby leaves the hospital.
- Prematurity—babies born before 36 weeks of pregnancy
- Brother or sister treated for jaundice
- Baby has a different blood type than mother, resulting in hemolysis
- Poor feeding with breast or bottle
- Large bruises or a condition called cephalhematoma (bleeding under the scalp related to labor and delivery)
- High bilirubin levels or signs of jaundice in the first 24 hours of life (before leaving the hospital)
- Certain liver enzyme deficiencies
When to Call the Doctor
- Yellow color gets deeper
- Yellow color spreads to other parts of the body or the eyes
- Jaundice lasts for more than 3 weeks
- Is tired all the time or difficult to wake
- Sucks or nurses poorly
- Looks weak or floppy
- Arches his or her back or neck backwards
- Develops a high-pitched cry or fever
- Has convulsions or spasms
- Examination of baby’s skin
- Transcutaneous bilirubin (TcB)—a light is passed through the baby's skin to screen for high bilirubin levels
- Blood test—to check level of bilirubin in blood. This may be done if TcB shows a risk for high bilirubin levels
Change in Feedings
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics http://www.healthychildren.org
The March of Dimes http://www.marchofdimes.com
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca
Infant jaundice. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/jaundice.html. Updated April 2014. Accessed September 15, 2015.
Jaundice in healthy newborns. Nemour's Kid's Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy%5Fcenter/newborn%5Fcare/jaundice.html. Updated January 2015. Accessed September 15, 2015.
Muchowski KE. Evaluation and treatment of neonatal hyperbilirubinemia. Am Fam Physician. 2014;89(11):873-878.
Neonatal cholestasis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 2, 2014. Accessed September 15, 2015.
Neonatal hyperbilirubinemia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 24, 2015. Accessed September 15, 2015.
Neonatal hyperbilirubinemia. The Merck Manual Professional Edition website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/pediatrics/metabolic%5Felectrolyte%5Fand%5Ftoxic%5Fdisorders%5Fin%5Fneonates/neonatal%5Fhyperbilirubinemia.html. Updated August 2015. Accessed September 15, 2015.
- Reviewer: Kari Kassir, MD
- Review Date: 09/2015 -
- Update Date: 09/30/2013 -