My son was born with a condition called Infantile Jaundice. While Jaundice can affect anyone, it is especially worrisome in newborns and young babies even though it tends to be a fairly common problem. Luckily, I had some great doctors who were able to work with my son, and I helped us become educated about the disease and how to overcome the diagnosis.
What Is Infantile Jaundice?
Infantile Jaundice is caused by an excess in bilirubin counts in the baby’s blood. Bilirubin is found in bile and is a yellow or brown color of old red blood cells that have been processed and broken down by the liver. My son was born around 38 weeks and babies who are born before full gestation are most at risk for jaundice. If the babies liver is underdeveloped this condition can occur and lead to complications if not caught quickly. I could tell right away something was different about my son versus my first son in the fact that he had a yellowish hue to his skin and eyes after about a week of having him home.
What Can You Do?
When I realized he was turning a yellow color, I called the doctor and made an appointment immediately. Infants are routinely inspected for jaundice when they are born, but jaundice can take a week to present itself. There can be many underlying causes for Infantile Jaundice that can be dangerous and so it is important that if you see the signs you have the baby checked out immediately.
How Is It Diagnosed?
Diagnosing jaundice is done through a simple blood test that measures for bilirubin in the blood and determines if the count is too high. The doctor will also do a physical examination.
What Treatments Are Available?
Treatment can involve a number options including light therapy, intravenous immunoglobulin, frequent or supplemental feedings. For my son, the doctor suggested trying more frequent feeding that would help get his bowl moving more. It was challenging because the jaundice made him fussy and sleepy so it was hard to get him to eat anything. It is important to have a good doctor and support from the staff when dealing with treating jaundice otherwise I don’t think my son and I would have made it. Jaundice in young babies requires constant monitoring and blood test follow ups.