What are the causes, symptoms, treatment and preventive measures of Jaundice in new babies?

What are the causes, symptoms, treatment and preventive measures of Jaundice in new babies

The newborn babies are extremely vulnerable to catching many diseases because their body parts, especially the immune system have not completely developed. Thus, they lack the ailment fighting capacity from within.


Newborns are affected with jaundice because they produce increased levels of bilirubin. It is yellow in color and its production is characterized by the breaking of red blood cells. It is washed out from the body by the way of the liver. Jaundice occurs in children because the bilirubin production in their body is way more than the liver can process.

The newborn may be also affected by jaundice due to breastfeeding, infection, mismatching of blood type between the mother and child, and other types of blood or liver issues.


Jaundice is particularly characterized by yellowness. The newborns develop yellow eyes and yellow body which can extend down to their waist.

Other symptoms can include sleepiness, lethargy, and difficulty waking up even for feeding.


Generally, if the jaundice is mild, it gets treated on its own as the liver of the child matures with each passing day, the best way for the treatment is breastfeeding for 8 to 12 times in a day which helps bilirubin to be washed out of the child’s body.

In case of severe jaundice, other medical treatments are required. That can be in the form of phototherapy. Under this treatment, the child is placed on a special bed under a blue spectrum light. The eyes of the child are covered with special protective goggles to protect them from the light and the child wears the diaper only. There can also be a fiber-optic blanket that is placed beneath the child. The phototherapy treatment breaks the bilirubin from the child’s body.

For even more severe jaundice, there can be a blood transfusion. The blood can be obtained from a donor or blood bank. The infected red blood cells of the child are replaced with fresh blood cells. This reduces his bilirubin level and increases the red blood count.


It is not possible to prevent newborn children getting affected by jaundice. The only way is to prevent existing jaundice from becoming severe by taking the following precautions:

  • The baby should be breastfed 8-12 times a day for the first few days. This helps to keep the child hydrated which is essential for easy removal of bilirubin from his/her body.
  • If the mother is not breastfeeding the child, the mothers can give them 2 ounces of formula every 2 to 3 hours in the first week. The premature babies or smaller babies require less formula and the children who are breastfeeding also require less amount of formula.

All in all, jaundice in small babies is a common issue that resolves on its own. The treatment is the same for all babies. Even the test tube baby treatment is the same and they also can get equally affected like any other child from this disease.