What is Jaundice?
“Our baby has jaundice. Jaundice is the yellowing of the skin and eyes caused by too much bilirubin (a yellow pigment produced during normal breakdown of red blood cells) in the blood,” Bunso said matter-of-factly. He never forgot what he learned in Mr. LJ’s Science class. The subject matter — common diseases of the liver — must have been too interesting for him to remember.
From research, I’ve learned that most newborns have mild jaundice simply because their liver is still maturing. In cases like this, no treatment is required as it will go away after a week or two. By that time, the baby is able to get rid of the excess bilirubin.
To borrow from Babycentre.co.uk: “Newborns tend to have higher levels of bilirubin. That’s because babies have extra oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Their young livers can’t process the bilirubin that’s generated when these red blood cells start to break down.”
Cure for Jaundice
Our pediatrician recommended that we expose our dear little boy to morning sunlight every day for around 10 minutes. Further research said that regular exposure to sunlight will help the bilirubin in the skin to dissolve and will be excreted through urine.
We have a new baby again and at three weeks, he is very much free from jaundice. And this mother is happy because most medical books say that “jaundice that persists longer than three weeks may be a symptom of an underlying condition. The high levels of bilirubin can put a baby at risk for deafness, cerebral palsy, or other forms of brain damage.”
* Our Yael at three weeks old. He is now two years old and is very much healthy. Wrote this post as a reminder to first-time parents. As we enjoy our new born, please have your baby checked with jaundice. It may appear harmless but may become severe if taken for granted.