Symptoms of breast milk jaundice

Disease science

Symptoms of Breast Milk Jaundice

Too-Yourhealth

Breast milk jaundice is a common condition that affects newborns. It is caused by the high levels of bilirubin in breast milk, which can cause the baby's skin and whites of the eyes to turn yellow.

Breast milk jaundice usually develops within the first few days of life and peaks around 7-10 days. It typically resolves on its own within 2-3 weeks.

Symptoms of breast milk jaundice

The main symptom of breast milk jaundice is yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. Other symptoms may include:

Dark urine

Light-colored stools

Poor feeding

Lethargy

Irritability

Causes of breast milk jaundice

Breast milk jaundice is caused by the high levels of bilirubin in breast milk. Bilirubin is a yellow pigment that is produced when red blood cells are broken down.

During pregnancy, the placenta filters bilirubin from the baby's blood. After birth, the baby's liver is responsible for filtering bilirubin. However, the newborn liver is not fully developed and may not be able to filter bilirubin as efficiently as an *** liver.

This can lead to a build-up of bilirubin in the baby's blood, which can cause jaundice.

Risk factors for breast milk jaundice

Some babies are more at risk for developing breast milk jaundice than others. These include:

Babies who are born prematurely. Premature babies have less developed livers than full-term babies, which makes them more likely to develop jaundice.

Babies who have a low birth weight. Low birth weight babies have less blood volume than full-term babies, which can lead to a higher concentration of bilirubin in their blood.

Babies who have a family history of jaundice. Babies who have a sibling or parent who had jaundice are more likely to develop the condition themselves.

Diagnosis of breast milk jaundice

Breast milk jaundice is diagnosed based on the baby's symptoms and a physical examination. The doctor may also order a blood test to measure the baby's bilirubin levels.

Treatment of breast milk jaundice

Most cases of breast milk jaundice do not require treatment. The condition usually resolves on its own within 2-3 weeks.

However, if the baby's bilirubin levels are very high, the doctor may recommend phototherapy. Phototherapy is a treatment that uses light to break down bilirubin.

Prevention of breast milk jaundice

There is no sure way to prevent breast milk jaundice. However, there are some things that you can do to reduce your baby's risk of developing the condition, such as:

Breastfeeding your baby frequently. This will help to clear bilirubin from the baby's blood.

Exposing your baby to sunlight. Sunlight can help to break down bilirubin.

Giving your baby a bath with baking soda. Baking soda can help to neutralize bilirubin.

Complications of breast milk jaundice

Most cases of breast milk jaundice are mild and do not cause any complications. However, in rare cases, high levels of bilirubin can lead to kernicterus. Kernicterus is a condition that can cause damage to the brain.

Symptoms of kernicterus include:

Seizures

Opisthotonus (arching of the back)

Rigidity

Deafness

Intellectual disability

Kernicterus is a serious condition that can lead to lifelong disabilities. If your baby is showing any of the symptoms of kernicterus, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

Outlook for breast milk jaundice

The outlook for breast milk jaundice is generally good. Most cases of the condition resolve on their own within 2-3 weeks. However, it is important to monitor your baby's bilirubin levels and to seek medical attention if the levels are very high.

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