Jaundice And Breastfeeding: What You Need To Know About Mother And Baby’s Health


Breastfeeding jaundice is a common condition in newborns but happens more often in breast-fed newborns. This condition is the result of the baby not getting sufficient milk to lower their bilirubin levels, which trigger jaundice.

What Exactly Is Jaundice?

This health condition causes yellowish skin, mucous, and eyeballs. It is due to a buildup of fluid in the blood known as bilirubin. Jaundice is a sign of other health conditions, which a doctor can help diagnose through checkups and tests.

Bilirubin is produced from the breakdown of our body’s red blood cells. It is a natural process that takes place in the human body. However, the problem is when there is a buildup that causes various health issues.

When this process happens, the blood releases hemoglobin molecules. It splits with another part of the blood converted to the fluid bilirubin. The liver processes this fluid then gives it off as bile.

When there is a problem in the regular production of the fluid, it might cause jaundice. There are many different causes of this condition, including various dioceses. Knowing its causes can help you deal with the health condition more effectively. They include:


It involves a quick boost in hemolysis. This condition affects the ability of the liver to remove higher bilirubin levels from the patient’s blood. Conditions related include malaria, drugs, and immune system diseases.


In this case, the problem takes place in the liver. Jaundice takes place because the liver is unable to process or release bilirubin effectively. Some examples include cirrhosis, hepatitis, drugs, and cancer.


This condition takes place after the liver makes bile. In these situations, jaundice results from conditions that affect the normal draining of bilirubin as bile from a patient’s liver to the intestines. There are various possible causes, including cancer, gallbladder stones, pregnancy, and newborn jaundice.

What Is Breastfeeding Jaundice?

Breastfeeding jaundice results when a baby does not consume enough milk. It is unrelated to the condition of breast milk jaundice. When a baby gets enough breast milk, this helps to cause elevated levels of bilirubin.

Newborn Breastfeeding Jaundice Treatments

Mild jaundice usually goes away within time. That happens due to the infant’s liver development. Several feedings up to 12x per day can help babies increase the passage of bilirubin fluid in their bodies.

In more advanced cases, treatments such as phototherapy are highly effective for treating newborn jaundice. It uses a special light for breaking down the fluid within the newborn’s body.

Blue light therapy requires the baby to be placed on a special bed located under blue light. They should only wear diapers and goggles. There also might be a special blanket (fiber-optic) placed under the baby.

When there are serious cases, a transfusion might be required. That provides the baby with small quantities of blood from either a blood bank or donor. It is conducted to replace damaged blood cells with new red blood cells. It also helps boost the number of red blood cells in the baby. Another benefit is lowering bilirubin levels.

Breastfeeding Jaundice Prevention and Treatment

You might be wondering if breastfeeding jaundice can be prevented. No, there is no way to prevent breastfeeding jaundice. However, your blood type is tested during pregnancy and your baby’s blood type too after birth. That helps to check for blood type differences that may cause newborn jaundice.

In the case your infant has jaundice, follow these steps to prevent the condition from getting worse.

  1. First, provide enough milk formula. If you’re feeding baby formula make sure your newborn gets 1-2 ounces every 2-3 hours. This should be done during the first week.
  2. Secondly, provide enough breast milk. Make sure to feed the baby 8x to 12x per day. This step should be done for many days following birth. It will help to make sure the baby isn’t dehydrated after learning about breastfeeding jaundice.

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