You cannot predict anything during the pregnancy period. Things can happen unexpectedly and it may affect the baby or mother or both.
Infant Jaundice is a condition where the baby’s liver is unable to remove the bilirubin from the blood. Because of this, the baby’s body becomes yellowish. This usually goes away on its own and in most cases, the breastmilk is more than enough as a cure.
Newborn jaundice is quite common with about 6 out of every 10 babies born having the condition. In premature births, about 8 out of every 10 babies born have this condition. Mild jaundices can be easily cured at home and let us understand how.
How to Cure Jaundice in Newborn Baby at Home?
Mild jaundice in newborn babies doesn’t need any kind of special medications and it can be easily cured at home. You don’t have to worry about your baby being yellowish for a few days. It will reduce gradually and your baby will turn back to its original skin color. Here are some of the top home remedies you can try to cure jaundice in your infant.
Best Home Remedies to Treat Jaundice in Newborn Babies
The best home remedy for almost all health conditions for a baby is breastmilk. It has all the necessary nutrients, antibodies, and other supplements for the healthy nurturing of the baby.
When your newborn has jaundice, you have to start breastfeeding the baby more than the usual feeding routine.
Frequent feeding will help the body to flush the toxins out of the baby’s body more easily. Because the body uses more energy to recover the liver and process the bilirubin. So, if you don’t feed the baby enough milk, she may lose weight.
Breastmilk is preferred over formula. But if you have issues with feeding, then you can provide the baby with sufficient and suitable formula feed.
If you cannot breastfeed the baby, you can pump the milk out and feed the baby in a bottle or spoon. If you cannot produce breastmilk, then you can find donors who can feed the baby with their milk.
Keep the formula feed as the final option because human milk has more nutrients and antibodies than formula.
Naturally, you can find newborns with jaundice to be feeding more frequently. So, you don’t have to worry about it.
It is also recommended to stick with breastmilk alone. You can give some water at times but don’t give any other food till the baby is completely cured.
Expose Baby to Early Morning Sun Rays
Generally, hospitals use phytotherapy units to treat babies affected with jaundice. But why do you need an artificial light source when you have a much better natural source?
A study has proven the effectiveness of sunlight over phytotherapy and its potential to replace the unit.
Expose the infant to the early morning sun rays which can reduce the concentration of bilirubin in the body effectively.
Wake up early in the morning and show your baby naked into the first rays of the sun. They don’t affect the baby’s body and it will not be very hot.
The sunlight will also be rich in vitamin D, which can help in catabolizing the bilirubin from the body more effectively.
Do not expose the baby to the sun after it has completely risen. The intensity of the rays will be higher and it will affect the baby’s skin.
If you cannot perform this remedy in the morning, you can try exposing it during sunset in the evening. But morning rays are better and more helpful.
If your baby has some other skin diseases or issues, you can consult your pediatrician before doing this remedy for your baby.
These are the effective home remedies you can do for your child to get completely cured of the condition. You don’t have to worry about mild jaundices since they get cured on their own most of the time.
Can Severe Jaundice in Newborns be Treated with Home Remedies?
If your baby is affected by high levels of bilirubin, then you have to go for phytotherapy and break down the compound soon.
Usually, doctors can find this out soon after childbirth and it is better to stay in the hospital and treat this condition effectively.
Breastfeeding is very important during this time. Therefore, when you find the baby to be having severe jaundice, it is required for you to go for phytotherapy immediately.
Why Do Newborn Babies Get Jaundice?
There are two major reasons for jaundice in a newborn:
- The inefficiency of the liver due to its developing stage
- A higher number of RBCs in the blood
More RBC, More Bilirubin
As we mentioned earlier, Bilirubin buildup in the body causes jaundice. But what causes this buildup? It is due to the higher RBC count in the newborn baby.
Newborns have a large number of red blood cells that constantly break down. When an RBC breaks down, it gives out bilirubin. So, when a large number of RBCs are constantly broken down, the bilirubin naturally increases in the infant’s body.
Due to this bilirubin buildup, the newborn is affected with jaundice and is seen with yellowish pigmentation (Bilirubin has yellow pigment).
Developing Liver Cannot Effectively Remove Bilirubin
The organs of the newborn are still developing to adapt to the new environment. Therefore, they take time to function effectively and efficiently.
The liver is the vital organ that removes all the toxins from the body. Since bilirubin can only be removed by the liver, a developing organ may find it difficult.
Especially when there is a lot of bilirubin in the body, the liver cannot process everything at the same time.
That is why many newborns are affected with mild jaundice and it also goes away once the organ functions efficiently.
These are the major reasons for newborn jaundice. Only in some rare cases, an underlying disease or a condition will give severe jaundice to the baby. In such cases, reach the doctor and get it treated as soon as possible.
How Will Jaundice Affect The Newborn Baby?
Mild jaundice will not have any kind of effect on the baby’s health. It eventually goes away and gets cured on its own. But severe jaundice can be caused due to extreme levels of bilirubin in the body and it can affect the baby severely. Here are the two major conditions that can occur due to severe levels of bilirubin:
- Acute Bilirubin Encephalopathy – Alarming levels of bilirubin in the blood might start to affect the brain cells. Since bilirubin is toxic to brain matter, it will affect it severely and causes Fever, Poor Feeding, Listlessness, and backward arching of the neck and body.
- Kernicterus – This is associated with encephalopathy. If the brain cells are permanently damaged by bilirubin, then can have a loss of hearing, fixed upward sight, athetoid cerebral palsy, and improper enamel development.
These two conditions are very rare and you can find only very few cases each year. There will not be any symptoms when the baby is affected with mild jaundice. But when there are other symptoms, then you have to contact the doctor immediately and get your baby treated.
Does Jaundice Get Worse in Newborns?
Jaundice will not get worse in newborns, at least not in all babies. Within 2 weeks, the baby will get accustomed to the outside environment and the liver will start to function better.
So, once the liver fires up, it will excrete and remove all the toxins out of the body effectively. That includes the bilirubin buildup.
Therefore, as the baby grows, you will find the jaundice symptoms to be reduced. You can witness the reduction in pigmentation and the baby’s excreta like urine and stools being yellowish.
In almost all cases, jaundice doesn’t get worse and the babies get cured soon. Only in some cases, the baby can be affected by other conditions that may affect this recovery.
Generally, you never have to worry about when the condition will cure the baby. If you breastfeed the baby adequately, it will fade away within a month.
Severe bilirubin buildups occur very rarely and you cannot find many cases affected by such complications. Therefore, jaundice usually doesn’t get worse in newborns, and in some rare cases, it might.
What are the Signs of Recovery from Jaundice in Newborn Babies?
The first and foremost sign of recovery is the fading away of the yellowish pigment from the skin and the eyes.
The bilirubin gives yellow color and it will be exposed to the skin and the white part of the eyes. When it starts to fade away, you can be sure that the jaundice is getting cured.
Sometimes, outwardly you cannot see the pigmentation. But when you slightly press the baby’s skin, you can find the yellow color. Therefore, press the baby on the forehead or nose gently and if jaundice still persists, it will look yellow. Also, try to do this in a sufficiently lit room to make sure of the pigment.
Another sign of recovery can be found in the excretions of the baby. You can find the urine and stools to be staining the cloths and the stain doesn’t go away easily with washing.
This means that the body has started to remove the bilirubin from the body effectively. That is why it is excreting large amounts of the substance which causes the yellow stain.
If your baby was inactive, you can find it to be more active once jaundice starts to clear from the body.
These are the major signs of recovery from jaundice in newborns. It is very important to keep an eye on the recovery.
How Much Time does it take for Jaundice to Get Cured in Newborns?
Mild jaundice clears away from the newborn’s body within two weeks. It is probably the maximum time it takes to clear up newborns.
If you follow the remedies and observe your child properly, it may even clear up within 10 days. You can witness a reduction in symptoms when you breastfeed the baby adequately.
Even if the baby has higher levels of bilirubin, with phytotherapy, it will be completely cured within a month.
The doctor may prescribe performing the therapy for at least 2 weeks and once the bilirubin levels start to decrease, it will take another two for complete clearance.
Again, this is not a condition in every newborn. Sometimes, the symptoms might go away but a blood test may show a slightly higher level than the normal range. This means that although the baby is safe from jaundice, the bilirubin hasn’t completely cleared off.
Therefore, generally, it is advised to breastfeed the baby continuously and frequently for one month to get rid of the substance from the system.
So, the baby comes out from the risk of jaundice within 2 weeks and it might take more than a month to completely get it cleared off the system.
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Can You Avoid Jaundice In Newborns During Pregnancy Itself?
There isn’t a way to prevent newborn babies from getting jaundice at birth. Because jaundice manifests only after the child’s birth when the excretion of bilirubin job is taken over by the liver.
When the child is in the womb, the mother’s placenta will remove all the toxins from the baby’s body. But once the child is born, all the organs start to function effectively and the placenta is cut off.
So, the liver takes up the job of detoxification and might do a poor job due to its early stages of development.
That is why you cannot predict whether the baby will get jaundice or not before childbirth. And you probably cannot do anything to prevent it.
But a mother can observe a proper diet and good lifestyle to keep the baby healthy in the womb. When the baby grows in proper health, there are more chances to avoid jaundice.
As you can see infant jaundice is only prevalent in premature births, you can easily avoid jaundice in your child if you take care of your health properly and let the child grow its term in the womb.
Healthy eating habits, sleeping habits, and physical exercise are great ways to nurture a healthy child during pregnancy. This can also help the baby to be born at its proper term and effectively maintain a healthy body.
Jaundice is a common condition that may occur in newborns. Although it goes away on its own, you can aid the baby’s recovery with the remedies and clear the condition as soon as possible. A healthy baby can easily get rid of the condition soon. It is better to consult your physician regarding your baby’s condition and get the right treatment for it.