M.W. asks from Normal, IL on May 20, 2008
Newborn with Jaundice Due to Breastfeeding
Has anyone ever had an experience with their newborn that has developed jaundice due to breastfeeding? I have a newborn that is one week old. In the hospital, they discovered that she had jaundice and we were in the hospital for an extra day so that she could remain under the bilirubin lights. Once we brought her home she seemed to be doing fine, but still looked a little yellowish in her skin. At her one-week appointment yesterday they were a little worried about her color so they did another blood test and found out that her bilirubin levels have risen again. They mentioned that sometimes babies have slow functioning liver that may be the cause of this. They have suggested the possibility of refraining from breastfeeding from 24-48 hours to get the high bilirubin levels down for good. I want to know if anyone has had an experience like this. Did the baby stop feeding for so many hours and if so, did the baby go back to nursing on the nipple or did you just have to pump and then feed from the bottle going forward?
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So What Happened?™
Things to everyone for their advice!! I agree that breastfeeding is best for my child and wanted to continue which is why I asked for advice. I do appreciate everyone's responses. After another heel prick, her levels have continued to decrease and I am starting to feel a little more comfortable. I have not stopped breastfeeding and am continuing to pump as well. My milk supply is definitely not the issue...she definitely gets plenty of milk. I can pump 5 times a day and get 3 ozs from each breast every time, plus feed her many times a day. I am careful not to feed her to many times in one day though, as it seems she gets an upset tummy easily. I think that this is due to her not having enough BMs in a day's time. My doctor and I have agreed that her level is down enough to not worry so much, but we are both going to keep an eye on it. This is just something that she just has to get out of her system. I know that now and it is much easier to handle. It is a little scary when something is wrong with your child. My first child was so healthy so I didn't really know how to handlie this, especially since I didn't want to stop breastfeeding. Again, I thank you all for your support and think that this is a great website for advice.
C.F. answers from Chicago on May 21, 2008
This happened to me and I was so sad to not be able to breastfeed. Before you do anything, contact a lactation consultant. Usually you can get some free advice from the one at the hospital. I supplemented with formula for a few feedings, pumped, and was able to continue breastfeeding with no problems...for 2 years! Good luck!
K.C. answers from Chicago on May 21, 2008
My daughter was jaundice....just put her in the carseat and put her in indirect sunlight for a several minutes per day. I did that per my doctors orders and she was better in just a couple of days.
S.E. answers from Chicago on May 20, 2008
My son was under the lights at home and he also spent a lot of time outside but I did not stop breast feeding him. He was fine in a week. But he was born in July and it was a lot warmer outside.
J.L. answers from Chicago on May 21, 2008
I have heard the exact opposite. I have 3 kids, 2 of which had jaundice and all the docs even the nicu said that breastfeeding is the best way to get the bilirubin out of their system as well as putting them in indirect sunlight at various times during the day. In my opinion, DO NOT stop breastfeeding there is not reason to discontinue it, it's the best thing you can do for the jaundice. Maybe you heard this from some first year resident or something but I wouldn't follow this advice, just my opinion. Good luck and I hope the jaundice supsides soon. Oh, and the more they poop the quicker it gets out of their system too so nurse away!
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S.W. answers from Chicago on May 20, 2008
Please read these links regarding breastfeeding and jaundice. In most cases, you DO NOT need to formula feed during this time. If they are not admitting her, her levels are most likely lower than 20mg and she will be just fine. Just nurse, nurse, nurse. Good luck and congrats!
J.R. answers from Chicago on May 21, 2008
Oh my goodness! What terrible advice! The BEST cure for getting rid of the bilirubin which causes jaundice is to breastfeed. Nurse, nurse, nurse as much as possible. Many babies have jaundice as newborns (including my two daughters). The breast milk helps flush out the bilirubin. That being said, if your milk isn't fully in yet you could SUPPLEMENT with formula for a few days; just make sure you continue to nurse frequently to build your supply up. I did not give either of my daughters formula, and their jaundice cleared up within two weeks.
Hope that helps!
J.O. answers from Peoria on May 22, 2008
I have had three children and they all have had jaundice. Each time they wanted me to go feeding with formula. But I refused to and ended up supplementing with formula. My first I would nurse and then supplement with a plastic syringe. Second one I would breastfeed and the nurse or my husband would use a syringe attached to a tube that we would be slid into their mouth next to my nipple. My last one is 7 months old and I would nurse the baby and then we would give him a
2 ml bottle. We have never had a problem with nipple confusion. Good luck. By the way, did they tell you that you should lay your daughter in direct sunlight. Leave her just in her diaper and sit by a window, that helped my first one pass the bilirubin's faster.
G.G. answers from Chicago on May 21, 2008
M., I would strongly advise you not to stop breast feeding!!!!Call a local Lactation counselor and put your baby in the sun for some extra vitamin A&D.I cannot imagine what you're going through , tho I have serious concerns about a doctor who would advise you to stop doing the most natural and best thing for your child! The la leche' league has numerous woman and counselors available to help along with Physician support. Check that out and the very best of luck to both of you!!!G.G.
C.S. answers from Chicago on May 21, 2008
My little one had jaundice, but we were able to keep breastfeeding through it. The important thing is to keep your milk supply up if you suplement. Get advise from www.kellymom.com They are really good with this stuff. Post this as a question there with lots of detail. They are so knowledgable, but will need the specifics (age, counts, etc.)
R.G. answers from Chicago on May 21, 2008
Hi M. -
I had a similar situation. My son was jaundice and I was told to stop nursing for 24 hours. I was so scared that he would not go back to the boob after getting formula for the day. 24 hours doesn't seem that long but that is a lot of feedings for the little one. We went to formula for the 24 hours and he went back to nursing just fine. My sons numbers went down but I will never know if it was due to not nursing or it just being another day for his body to work it out. It seems that you have mixed reviews so just do what makes you comfortable. If she is going to be a boob baby - she will go back to the boob. Good Luck!!
A.B. answers from Dallas on May 20, 2008
I was told to give the baby about 2 tbsp of water before each feeding and that would clear it out faster.