Jaundice In Newborns

Did you know that Jaundice occurs in 50% of healthy newborns? Although this disorder is quite common, it can be somewhat concerning to parents of newborns. They might wonder what symptoms to watch out for, how it is diagnosed and what treatments are available . In order to help reassure and inform you, I have shared with you the basics that you need to know regarding jaundice in newborns!

What is jaundice?

Jaundice is a yellow tint you might see present in your baby’s skin or the white part of their eyes. It is caused by an excessive amount of bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is a substance that is made when the body breaks down old red blood cells. Once the bilirubin is produced it is then removed from the bloodstream by the liver. Since a baby’s liver is still not mature enough, it might have trouble processing the bilirubin.

What are the symptoms?

If your baby has jaundice, their skin and/or white part of their eyes will have a yellow tint. This usually happens 24 hours after life and can appear up until they are 5 days old. Babies born in Canada are routinely screened for jaundice within the first 72 hours of life. Since jaundice might appear after you’ve been discharged home you will need to be aware of some other symptoms that may arise if the bilirubin levels get really high. If you notice that your baby is getting more and more yellow in addition to having any of the following symptoms, make sure to bring your newborn to the hospital.

Sluggish and/or lethargic

Trouble feeding


High-pitched cry

Develops a fever


How do you treat it?

Not all jaundiced babies will require treatment. A blood test will first be done to determine how high the bilirubin levels are. If they are above normal range, then your baby will need phototherapy. During phototherapy your baby will be placed under special lights. These lights absorb into the skin and change the birilibrun so that the body can excrete it more easily.

Jaundice is common and happens to over 50% of newborns. It is easily treatable and detectable. Your little one will be routinely screened while in the hospital. It is up to you to watch out for later symptoms that might appear after you’ve been discharged. If you do suspect that they have jaundice contact your healthcare provider or bring your baby back to the hospital. I hope you enjoyed this week’s blog post! Please comment below for any stories you’ve had regarding jaundice in your newborn.