~Breast Feeding And Jaundice


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


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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