Breast Feeding And Jaundice

A baby having milk from a bottle.
A baby having milk from a bottle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jaundice is a result of buildup in the blood of the bilirubin, a yellow pigment that comes from the
breakdown of older red blood cells.  It’s normal for the red blood cells to break down, although
the bilirubin formed doesn’t normally cause jaundice because the liver will metabolize it and then get
rid of it in the gut.

However, the newborn baby will often become jaundiced during the first few days due to the
liver enzyme that metabolizes the bilirubin becoming relatively immature.  Therefore, newborn babies  will have more red blood cells than adults, and thus more will break down at any given time.

Breast milk jaundice There is a condition that’s commonly referred to as breast milk jaundice, although no one knows what actually causes it.  In order to diagnose it,the baby should be at least a week old.The baby should also be gaining well with breast feeding alone, having lots of bowel movements with the passing of clean urine.

In this type of setting, the baby has what is  referred to as breast milk jaundice.  On occasion,
infections of the urine or an under functioning of the baby’s thyroid gland, as well as other
rare illnesses that may cause the same types of problems.

Breast milk jaundice will peak at 10 – 21 days,although it can last for 2 – 3 months.  Contrary
to what you may think, breast milk jaundice is normal.  Rarely, if at all ever, does breast
feeding need to be stopped for even a brief period of time.

If the baby is doing well on breast milk, there  is no reason at all to stop or supplement with
a lactation aid.

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