Jaundice

Jaundice is a common and usually harmless condition in newborn infants. The word jaundice comes from a French word meaning "yellow." It describes the yellowish appearance of the whites of the eyes and skin of many newborn babies. The most common kind of jaundice is called physiologic jaundice. It usually appears on the second or third day of life in healthy babies born after a full-term pregnancy. It often disappears within a week without treatment. It may occur in both breastfed and formula-fed babies.

In most babies, jaundice occurs because the liver is not yet fully mature and able to rid the body of bilirubin, the breakdown product of old red blood cells that causes the yellow coloring. In rare cases, jaundice can become severe. This is called pathologic jaundice. Please call us if you think that your baby has jaundice that is more than you had expected. Feeding babies often helps them to maintain a good state of hydration and stimulates bowel movements, which helps the body get rid of the bilirubin. Extra water will not help and is discouraged for newborns.

If you notice a yellowing of your baby's eyes and skin, be sure to check with our office. But remember, jaundice in newborn babies is common, usually normal, and only a temporary condition.

Age Group: 
Infancy

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