If you've recently given birth, and this is your first baby, you may have a lot of questions and concerns. Some of those questions may involve jaundice. In most instances, jaundice is a non life-threatening condition that most babies develop a few days after birth. Most hospitals have babies remain in the hospital for at least 72 hours so that they can monitor color, since jaundice results in a yellowish skin color. However, some cases of jaundice develop several days after the 72-hour mark. Here are some steps that you should follow during those first few days at home with your baby.
Monitor Your Baby's Skin Color
During those first few days at home, it's important that you monitor your baby's skin color. In most cases, your baby will develop a yellow tint to their skin when they have jaundice. You may also notice that their gums turn yellow. If their skin looks yellow, they're developing jaundice.
Contact the Pediatrician
During those first few days at home with your baby, it's important that you watch their coloring. In most cases, a light yellow tint will go away with the steps provided above. However, it's still important that you contact your pediatrician as soon as you see the first hint of yellow. They'll need to monitor the bilirubin levels. If you notice that the whites of your baby's eyes have turned yellow, even just a little, you should call you pediatrician right away.
Give Your Baby Some Sunlight Exposure
During those first few days, it's a good idea to expose your baby to some sunlight throughout the day. Choose a sunny area of the house and place your baby's bed near the window. Sunlight will help get rid of the excess bilirubin, which is why jaundice begins. If the weather is nice, try sitting outside with your baby for a few minutes each day. The sunlight will help your baby with their jaundice and the fresh air will help you both feel better.
Continue with Normal Feedings
During those first few days when jaundice can develop, it's important that you continue with normal feedings. Feeding your baby on demand will help flush out the excess bilirubin. If you're breastfeeding, don't worry if you only have small amounts of breast milk to start. Your baby has a very small stomach to start with, so it all works out. However, if it seems like your baby is irritable following feedings, or is still hungry, you should talk to your pediatrician about supplementing with formula, especially if your baby is jaundiced.
Contact a clinic, like Port City Pediatrics, for more help.