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Discharge Instructions for Newborn Jaundice

Baby's face showing yellowish skin and whites of eyes. Your baby has been diagnosed with jaundice. This is a temporary condition that occurs when your baby’s liver is still immature and not yet able to help the body get rid of bilirubin. Bilirubin is a substance that is found in the red blood cells and can build up after birth as a result of the normal breakdown of red blood cells. If bilirubin levels become too high, they can be dangerous to your baby's developing brain and nervous system. That is why it is important to check babies who have signs of jaundice to make sure the bilirubin level does not become unsafe. An immature liver is normal at this stage of your baby’s growth and quickly will begin to activate the proteins needed to remove bilirubin from the body. Almost half of all babies show some signs of jaundice, such as yellow skin or eyes.


Home Care

  • Watch your baby for signs of jaundice returning or getting worse.

    • Your baby’s skin or the whites of the eyes turn yellow.

    • If jaundice gets worse, the yellow color will move from the eyes to your baby's face; then it will move down your baby's body toward the feet.

  • Breastfeed your baby often, at least 8  to 12 times every 24 hours. (Remember, most babies with jaundice improve after eating for several days.)

  • If you are using formula, discuss the best feeding schedule with your doctor.


Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.


When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor immediately if your baby has any of the following:

  • Not eating or drinking; refusing the breast or bottle

  • Losing weight or trouble gaining weight

  • Pale skin

  • Stools that are white or gray

  • Jaundice that gets worse (yellow color moving toward the feet)

  • Jaundice that does not improve by 2 weeks of age

  • Jaundice that goes away but then comes back

  • Fever, irritability, vomiting

  • Being less responsive to parents


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