Neonatal Jaundice

Neonatal jaundice is a common condition that makes a baby's skin and eyes yellow because their blood has too much bilirubin. It can be managed through monitoring, increased feeding, phototherapy, and an exchange transfusion. It is crucial to seek prompt medical attention if you notice any symptoms.

What Exactly Is Neonatal Jaundice?

Neonatal jaundice is a common condition that affects many newborn babies. Due to an excess of bilirubin in the blood, it is identifiable by a yellowish discolouration of the skin and eye whites.

Even though neonatal jaundice is usually harmless and goes away on its own, if it isn't treated, it can lead to problems like brain damage if it isn't taken care of. That is why it's crucial to monitor your baby's bilirubin levels, especially in the first few days of life.

As a parent, it can be challenging to witness your child experience health issues, which is why we have created this article to provide you with comprehensive information about this condition.

After reading this article, you will better understand the condition, its causes, and how to manage it effectively.

Neonatal Jaundice Symptoms

Parents need to know how to spot the signs of neonatal jaundice in their babies so they can get medical help if they need it. To help you identify neonatal jaundice, here are some symptoms to look out for:

1. Yellowing skin and whitening of the eyes: The most noticeable symptom of neonatal jaundice is a yellowish tint to the skin and eyes. This is caused by the buildup of bilirubin, a substance that is usually removed by the liver.

2. Poor feeding and lethargy: Jaundice can cause lethargy and poor feeding in newborns, as it makes them feel unwell and affects their appetite.

3. Dark urine and pale stools: When the liver is unable to process bilirubin effectively, it can lead to dark urine and pale-coloured stools.

It's important to note that many babies with jaundice do not show obvious symptoms, so it's crucial to have your baby's bilirubin levels checked regularly, especially in the first week.

Cause of Neonatal Jaundice

Neonatal jaundice occurs due to an excess buildup of bilirubin in a newborn's bloodstream. Bilirubin is produced when red blood cells break down and is usually processed by the liver before being eliminated from the body.

However, if the liver is not yet fully developed or functioning correctly, bilirubin can accumulate in the blood, causing jaundice. Premature birth, breastfeeding, and underlying medical conditions can also contribute to the development of neonatal jaundice.

Remember that detecting and treating neonatal jaundice early can help prevent health complications in your child and give you peace of mind.

Treatment of Neonatal Jaundice

The treatment for neonatal jaundice depends on the severity of the condition. For mild cases, feeding your baby more breast milk or formula can help eliminate bilirubin from the body. Phototherapy is a safe and effective treatment for more severe cases that uses special lights to break down bilirubin in the blood.

In rare cases, an exchange transfusion may be necessary, where small amounts of your baby's blood are removed and replaced with donor blood. It's very important to work closely with your doctor to figure out the best way to treat your baby's condition. Early detection and prompt medical attention can help manage neonatal jaundice effectively.


Neonatal jaundice can be hard for parents to deal with, but it's important to know that it's a common condition that's usually harmless. That is why, as a parent, it's important to stay informed, communicate openly with your healthcare provider, and provide a supportive and nurturing environment for your little one.

Request an appointment at Apollo Cradle, Bengaluru - Brookefield. Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

1. Does sunlight make neonatal jaundice better?

Yes, sunlight helps in the breakdown of bilirubin. One hour in sunlight equals the benefit of six hours under special bilirubin light.

2. Does breast milk help during neonatal jaundice?

Yes, immunoglobulins present in breast milk help break down bilirubin.

3. What is the normal bilirubin level in newborns?

The normal bilirubin level should be 0.1 to 1.2 mg/dL (1.71 to 20.5 mol/L).

4. What are the types of neonatal jaundice?

There are four types of neonatal jaundice: physiological jaundice, pathological jaundice, breast milk jaundice, and hemolytic jaundice.

5. Precautions to take during neonatal jaundice

Frequent feedings, keeping the skin in sunlight contact, monitoring the yellowing of the skin, and seeking prompt medical care if symptoms worsen

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