Jaundice in babies is fairly common, especially when they are just a few days old. Their skin will appear slightly yellow to orangish in color, but there might not be any other outward signs of the condition. However, it isn’t one to be ignored because it can get worse and develop in to one where they need to go back to the hospital to recover from it. How can one prevent jaundice from creeping in to their newborn who has been taken home?
Breastfeeding Helps with Jaundice
- Luckily, there are several easy things to do when a baby is showing signs of jaundice. The first way is to breastfeed them. Breast milk is about the best substance on earth for combating any type of disease or even preventing it from starting. The nutrients in the breast milk are easy for the baby to process, therefore the digestive system doesn’t have many problems with moving the milk through and out!
- When the baby has regular bowel movements, the bilirubin doesn’t build up in their system. The bilirubin buildup is from waste materials the baby has when eating. Bilirubin is passed out through the stool, so when the baby has regular movements, it prevents the buildup from happening in the first place. And since breast milk is so easy to process, it typically flows through the baby at a fairly quick pace.
- Breast milk contains vitamins and nutrients that are needed by baby to grow and develop, but they are also in the right balance so they don’t make a baby constipated. For example, some types of formula have more iron in them than what comes naturally from breast milk. Iron is known to cause constipation in newborns, infants, children and even adults. So the less there is of it in the food they eat the better. There are low iron formulas available, but it is a mineral still needed for baby to grow and develop properly.
- Jaundice in babies might appear just because they need to flush out their system a bit faster. But it is also because they might not have the correct balance of vitamins. Placing babies in natural sunlight or under what is called a bilirubin light also reduces the amount of it in their system. For babies with only slightly higher levels in their system, they can be placed in a baby swing or seat inside of the house in front of the window. Follow the doctor’s orders for how long, but even ten or twenty minutes in the afternoon can help to dissolve the bilirubin.
How Serious is Jaundice?
- Jaundice isn’t something to be fearful of, but it shouldn’t be ignored either. If baby has been breastfeeding successfully but still looks a bit yellow or orange even, a visit to the pediatrician might still be in order. They can look at the baby or they might even request a blood draw in order to get the exact level measured. Some baby will naturally have yellowish skin tones, so until it is discovered what their natural level is, you might need to carefully monitor them.
Breastfeeding is a simple and sure bet that your baby won’t be jaundiced for long or for very much in the beginning. Until the baby’s digestive system is up and completely functioning at 100%, breast milk is the thing to use until they are there. Since it is broken down so quickly by their system, that baby will poop often. Even though changing diapers frequently might seem like a pain, know that it is keeping your baby from becoming jaundiced! Suddenly changing poopy diapers often doesn’t seem so bad.