Breastfeeding and Jaundice

Updated on August 01, 2008
J.C. asks from Cypress, TX
79 answers

My baby is a week old today and was "diagnosed" with jaundice on day 2. She stayed at the hospital until day 4. I breastfeed exclusively since birth. She was placed under the "bililights" since day 2 and on day 3 she was placed under double lights to bring down her bili levels. She started off with 12 (normal being 1-10) and then dropped to 10.8 but rose again to 11 before she was released. I took her for her 1 week appointment today and her blood was retested and she is now at 14. I am still only breastfeeding and she is doing great. She eats enough and is passing stool and wetting diapers. The pediatrician recommended I stop breastfeeding and give her formula for 2 days and retest on Monday. I am skeptical because I am very determined to breastfeed and I feel like I am being bullied into giving her formula. I have done a little research on the internet and EVERY site says there is no reason to stop breastfeeding. Just wondering if anyone has experienced anything similar and what your results were/are???

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L.M.

answers from Longview on

Honestly I don't think doctors know as much as they think they know. Breastfeeding is best hey even the formula companies say so and if that is what YOU want to do do not let a doctor talk you in to anything else. I would seek another opinion!

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J.S.

answers from Austin on

My son had a 14 level in the hospital and came home with a light blanket he had to where all the time i breast feed him and gave him one water bottle a day also sitting in front of the window with just a diaper was advised after the blanket was removed
good luck
J.

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M.T.

answers from San Antonio on

My granddaughter had the same problem and she was exclusively formula feed, so I think you should keep breastfeeding. Keep the lights going and with time she will clear.

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C.S.

answers from Austin on

Congratulations on your new baby girl! When my first daughter was born 4 years ago this week, we were in the hospital for four days and had her on the bili lights. It was very tough!They had lights that went inside her little onesie, back and front, so we could keep her in our room with us. She looked like a little glow worm!

From what I came to understand from the experience, the important thing is not whether the baby gets breastmilk or formula, it's that she passes lots of stools to get that "junk" out of her system. This means quantity, quantity, quantity! When they told me that they wanted to supplement my breastmilk with formula I was opposed to the idea, and called in the hospital lactation specialists to help me. They promptly waved off the formula-toting neonatal nurses and brought in an electric breast pump. Between feedings I was pumping, so I could use one of those thingies with the tube taped to my breast (forget what that's called). When Sarah nursed, she was also getting additional breast milk through the tube. This was an exhausting few days, but the levels went down and Sarah is now a thriving, active 4-year-old. I'm not trying to say formula is bad (my 9-mo-old uses it now), but when you've made the decision to breastfeed your newborn it is important to do everything you can to establish your milk supply and get the baby off to a good start with learning how to latch on. Breastfeeding can be very difficult to get the hang of, for both mom and baby, but seek out support and don't give up!

C.

1 mom found this helpful
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T.G.

answers from Austin on

With my first born, the hospital gave us a "special" bottle to feed him with. Now this was not one with a nipple on it but had a small tube that came out of the bottom. We would slip the tube in the corner of his mouth as I was nursing him. That way I was still nursing him and having him get use to the breast but he was also getting the supplement. I don't know where you could get one but ask your dr. and at the hospital. Somebody has to have one. I only had to supplement for a day or two. Good Luck!

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P.D.

answers from San Antonio on

My baby went through something very similar (I had him back in May). I had to feed him formula b/c he was jaundice and wasn't getting enough to eat (he was a 10 lb baby). However, I was very scared that he would not want to nurse if I gave him a bottle of formula. So, I talked to my lactation specialist and she gave me some advice that was awesome. I bought a nipple shield (it's a plastic shield that goes over the nipple that is supposed to help a baby latch on and help mom with any cracking or soreness). And I would fill a syringe full of formula and pump it into this nipple shield as my baby nursed. So, I would nurse normally and then give him the formula with the shield. that way it kind of tricks the baby into thinking he's nursing when he's actually getting formula. The bonding remains and the baby still has to work to get his food (rather than just take a bottle). I only did this for a week and his billi levels returned to normal. I haven't had to go back to formula and don't plan on it. Also, I haven't had any issues with nursing. I'm not an expert so I'd suggest talking to a lactation consultant, but this was very successful for me. Good luck!

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W.K.

answers from San Antonio on

I have four kids and the last one was jaundiced. I kept breastfeeding him and sometimes gave him some warm water in a bottle. The pedi I have said that as long as the bilirubins were down by his two month appointment, then he should be okay (with everything else going well - peeing fine, passing stools, eating every 2-3 hours, etc.). At his two month appointment, it was all gone. I don't know if that helps, but I would definitely not stop breastfeeding! Keep up the good feeding!

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A.M.

answers from Houston on

Congradulations on your baby and on choosing to breastfeed. Don't stop breastfeeding. I don't know anything about Bili levels. I did know a lady whose baby had jaundice, she had to eliminate things from her diet, ie dairy, broccoli, even meat. She would do this for a couple weeks, each one separately. Some of the things would work for a bit, but her baby didn't get rid of the jaundice till he was almost five months. It seems like forever when you just started, but it won't last forever. Just remember that you can set her somewhere safely and walk away for a few moments to get yourself back together. You are aslo going to need a teamplayer to give you some relief. And help you through this stressful time. If you can find a mommys group, they will help with support and your sanity.

Breastfeeding is so important and I personally don't think that a couple of weeks is enough time to tell if your baby is affected by your milk. I'm not a doctor, but my dr. told me I would have to stop for a couple of weeks and but my baby on formula. She still has no idea what formula is. I consulted a lactation consultant and she told me to try to cut dairy for a couple of weeks. I did and it worked. My daughter had intestinal irratation that was causing her to have green slimy diahrea.

So I hope everyone gives you good advice and that it is helpful for your situation. Good luck. I'll try to send happy positive thoughts your way, everyday.

A. and the BOO!

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K.D.

answers from Austin on

You are getting a lot of good advice, & I just want to say "Yay!" to all these breastfeeding mamas & to you. My son had jaundice & it was a very difficult few days before he was well again - scary, exhausting, & so hard to wake him. When the nurse told us we needed to supplement, we went to the lactation consultants at St. David's nursing store, Mother & Child. They rented us a hospital grade pump & sold us a supplemental nursing system (SNS - the bottle with the tube that others have mentioned - you are still stimulating your milk supply when using it, so you supplement without sacrificing that or risking nipple confusion like you do with a bottle). Pumping was tiring & may have contributed to producing too much milk later (oversupply) but was so worth it. My son got a nominal amount of formula & mostly expressed breast milk & it was all over pretty quickly. We also had a bili-blanket to use at home, which the nurse arranged to have delivered to our home. If you do not have this you might talk to your doctor & tell him you want one.

For breastfeeding support & supplies you can call Mother & Child at ###-###-####. They can probably help you at Special Additions, also - their number is ###-###-####. Even if you're not in Austin, they may be able to refer you to a resource where you are.

I was frustrated with the nurse for immediately jumping to "you must supplement with formula" without talking to us about pumping or alternatives to bottles. I had interviewed my doctor & one of the things I wanted to know about her was if she was a strong supporter of breastfeeding. She is, but the nurse was not the lactivist I think a nurse ought to be. Stopping nursing altogether for two days could be detrimental to a nursing relationship, particularly in someone who is not wholly committed to nursing. That a doctor could make such a recommendation really bothers me. If it was me (three years into parenting now, strong in my convictions & aware that I must be an advocate for my child more than I probably realized years ago), I would change doctors. If you think you may want to I could recommend some doctors in Austin.

If you do pump, look up Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin - mmbaustin.org - they accept donations of breastmilk, like a blood bank for human milk.

One other thing that could help, if you're not already doing it, is to co-sleep. It greatly improves breastfeeding, which I know is going well for you but I mention it in case you think you might be able to get your baby nursing more frequently at night. I can share safety tips if you like or you can go to askdrsears.com to find some.

Good luck to you. It seems like forever while it is happening but your baby will be healthy soon!

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A.M.

answers from Corpus Christi on

Hi there and congratulations on the birth of your baby and on deciding to breastfeed!
I bf our first son until he was 22 months and now an bf our twin boys. They are 20 months old now. They ALL had jaundice when born and it took a while for it to leave their systems. Luckily I had a great ped. who KNEW that bf babies tend to take longer to rid themselves of the jaundice. It should be fine and you should continue to bf your baby. Have you talked to a Lactation Consultant yet? They have them at the hospital where you delivered and you can chat with them about this to ease your mind. Don't get bullied into giving formula (unless you want to )just because of this- do your research and bring it with you to the ped's. office. If you want some good info. to print - go to www.kellymom.com and type in Jaundice. You'll find all of the resources below. Good luck with it all and if you have any more ?s about bf- let me know. [email protected]____.com

Links: Breastfeeding a Baby with Jaundice

Breastfeeding and Jaundice by Jack Newman, MD

Jaundice by Anne Smith, IBCLC

AAP Clinical Practice Guideline: Management of Hyperbilirubinemia in the Newborn Infant 35 or More Weeks of Gestation, from Pediatrics Vol. 114 No. 1 July 2004, pp. 297-316.

BiliTool.org -- Input baby's age and bili level to see treatment guidelines based on the American Academy of Pediatrics' 2004 clinical practice guidelines on the management of hyperbilirubinemia in newborns.

Jaundice in the Healthy Term Newborn from the British Columbia Reproductive Care Program

Gartner LM and Herschel M. Jaundice and breastfeeding. Pediatr Clin North Am - 01-Apr-2001; 48(2): 389-99 (Review article)

Slight Yellow Tint May Be Protective for Newborns by Alison McCook

Barañano DE, Rao M, Ferris CD, Snyder SH. Biliverdin reductase: A major physiologic cytoprotectant. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 10.1073/pnas.252626999 (this is the paper that the above news story is based upon)

Neonatal Jaundice Newborn Care Protocol (May 2003) from the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, Australia

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E.O.

answers from Houston on

I feel like you should stick to your guns, but also do what is best for the health of your new baby! Pump pump pump while you supliment with formula for a couple of days...if this will help the jaundice, then why not? Talk to your pedi about mixing the formula with your breastmilk or still breastfeeding in between formula feedings...this doesn't mean you hav to stop breastfeeding! Just tlak it over with your pedi---they are here to answer your 1,000 questions and NEVER hesitate or feel silly about anything you present to them!!!!
Stay strong, your baby will be fine!

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P.H.

answers from Austin on

I don't know about dealing with extreme jaundice, but if you want to breastfeed successfully DO NOT STOP. Find a doctor or lactation expert to help you and baby get on the right track that includes breastfeeding. Then find another pediatrician. You need someone who will support your parenting style, not make it harder for you! Breastfeeding can be challenging, so get all those you work with in supporting roles.
Even when my middle son had to be hospitalized (age 9 months) at Children's in Austin, every doctor and nurse there told me I shouldn't stop nursing him if "we" weren't ready and did everything to support the breastfeeding (even when at that stage his regular pedi. said it was time to move on...)
Don't give up! Have you called Le Leche league? They may have more resources for you, too.

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R.S.

answers from Houston on

First of all, I am appalled that your doctor is recommending you go off of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is the BEST thing for a baby. My oldest daughter had jaundice when she was born and she had to go in the tanning bed as well. The one thing my pedi. told me is that natural sunlight is the best thing for her, and never told me to stop breastfeeding. I took her in the sun as much as possible, and sure enough, she improved dramatically. I am sick to death of those who 'bully' others into stopping the best food in the world for their babies....with both of my girls, they only had breastmilk for the 1st 6 months...nothing but the boob. At 6 mths I introduced solid foods, and I believe both of my children are healthier because of it. I maintained breastfeeding even after solids were brought in.
Stick to your guns and do not stop giving your baby the best food God gave you!

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P.M.

answers from Houston on

Have you tried putting her in the sunlight?
My daughter was the same. 2 days into it. They kept her in the hospital until her bili dropped to 11. She was released from the hospital - but they did tell me to put her in direct sunlight (in a diaper only). They told me that if I did not do this, then her bili levels could rise again.

I would not stop breast feeding. A mothers milk is the best thing for your child.

Maybe you should look into finding a doctor that is more in sync with your needs as a breastfeeding mother.

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C.M.

answers from San Antonio on

There isn't a reason to stop. Your pediatrician may want to get an accurate count of the amount of fluids she is taking in and that is easier with formula. What you can do as a compromise is get a Medela Nursing supplement system. My daughter was jaundinced and the hospital gave us this. The bottle clipped onto my shirt and I taped the tiny tube onto my nipple so as she nursed she got both breastmilk and formula. She never even new it was there. Ask your doctor for one or see if the hospital will sell you one. A lot of pediatricians just aren't as knowledgeable about nursing. I have not been able to find this anywhere but the hospital which is sad. This little tool is hardly ever offered and it would help so many women get through that nerve wracking time when they are waiting for their milk to come in.
http://www.selfexpressions.com/supnursys.html

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C.P.

answers from San Antonio on

Find a new pediatrician. It is not uncommon for docs to still give this outdated advice - but it doesn't mean you have to accept it. All 5 of mine have been jaundiced - my first went through the same routine as yours has. By the 4th child I had a very pro-breastfeeding pedi and he said NEVER stop breastfeeding a jaundiced baby - my last two also had counts on the high side and it resolved itself, naturally.

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K.K.

answers from Portland on

Okay... I saw a lot of support for your continuing to breastfeed and to seek another pediatrician but I didn't see anything about dealing with the Jaundice...but as there were 48 responses, I admit i did not read them all ;-)...

Jaundice is the liver not working properly to break up bilirubin (sp). Often when bilirubin levels are high they placed under the blue lights (which are ultraviolet lights) to help the liver to break the bilirubin down until it can catch up on it's own.

If your child has been released from the hospital a natural way to help your child's liver process the bilirubin is to expose them to the sun periodically throughout the day. Make sure to take appropriate precautions to keep them from getting sunburned, but sun exposure will help in the breakdown of the bilirubin. I would try this for a couple of days to a week or have them place your child back under the blue lights before I switched them to formula...

Good luck!!! ;-)

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D.A.

answers from Houston on

I have 5 kids. They were all "diagnosed" with jaundice. I think it's something for the doctors to make money. I didn't take my kids in for further tests, and the jaundice cleared up within a week or two. I did put the kids in the sunshine for 15 mins. a day or so. I'd find a new pediatrician if I were you. He should be doing all he can to cheer you on with the breastfeeding. Give it some time. If your daughter is acting unusually or looking excessively yellow, take her in back in. Otherwise don't worry about it, and stick with your breastfeeding! (Sunshine is also good for sore nipples, if you have a private place to sunbathe!)

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J.L.

answers from San Antonio on

DON"T DO IT! I've heard over and over about bad events of jaundice. The worst is usually at three days. I'm not a doctor, so I don't want to offer bad advice. But even doctors say that breastfeeding is the absolute best way to go. Doctors get so wrapped up in their numbers and do such harsh things to get the results that fit into the mold. Stand strong!

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T.V.

answers from Austin on

Hi J.,

My daughter who is now 17 yrs had high bili levels when she was born, up to 25 and it just kept increasing and we were getting to where they were afraid that it could lead to brain damage, we were in the hospital under the bili-lights for almost 2 weeks. I had tried everything they said about putting her in the sun and increasing her milk, it did her no good, her levels just kept rising. I too was trying to breast feed her but she ended up with more medical problems than I anticipated at the time. Things have changed considerably now days and they don't force you as much as they used to into bottle feeding, don't let the dr bully you into it. You can continue breast feeding your daughter, but you need to make sure she is getting plenty of milk in her, and that she is having good stools. You don't necessarily need to suppliment her with formula unless you aren't producing enough milk, check with La Leche and they can help you there. You do need to make sure to have her levels checked in case they go up, keep a look at her skin and the whites of her eyes.

T.

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S.S.

answers from Austin on

J.,

My advise is to not stop breastfeeding and to contact a lactation consultant. I have a friend who is a lactation consultant & she helped me with my son. He did not have jaundice, but was losing too much weight before my milk came in. I had to supplement for almost a week.

I used what is called an SNS(Starter Supplemental Nursing System) by Medela. It has a very small tube that you lay next to your nipple, so that you can continue to nurse-but your baby also gets the supplement they need.

If you are interested, you may contact Hellen S. at ###-###-#### ext.2277. She offices out of Seton Northwest.

Good luck,
S. S.

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D.W.

answers from Houston on

When I had my first child, while still in the hospital he was on the verge of jaundice also. My nurse came in and asked how much was he nursing at a time. Well being my first child I had no clue, but she told me that he needed to nurse more or his levels would continue to rise and he would not be able to leave with me due to the jaundice. So it seems strange that stopping the nurseing would help, when it worked opposite for me. Just my experience good luck.

L.A.

answers from Austin on

Wow, I wish I speak with you. We went through exactly the same experience with my daughter. She went through a long birth process. She was 3 weeks early and we brought her home, but had to take her back to the hospital for a 3 day stay in the ICU. She had lost 1 whole pound in 2 days. We were devistated.

At the Dr's office while we waited for the hospital, I was given a bottle of formula for her. She gulped it down like she had been starving! She then looked so at peace, it broke my heart. I then knew I would do whatever it would take to let her feed the way she needed. If it meant formula so be it. In the meantime, I continued to pump milk, because she became too weak to feed on the breast. In the ICU they bottle fed her the milk I gave them when I could not be there ( I was so emotionally and physically exhausted).

I pumped for 6 weeks every hour and a half to keep up with her feedings. Finally I had to go on a business trip for 1 week and decided to switch to formula. It was hard, but I knew in my heart she would be fine. From then on I knew what being a good parent meant for me, it was what was best for my child, not what I needed. She needed the bottle to get her proper nureshment more than I needed to feel like I was doing what I had planned..

FYI, I was a child development major in college and have studied tons of research about breast milk. It is the best for an infant, but if it cannot be provided formula is just fine.

You are a good mother and the best thing I can tell you is, follow what your heart tells you. You would never do anything to harm your child, so when you make a decision do not have regrets. If you make a mistake, just learn from it. Do not listen to other people. Trust your doctor. They are the ones with the most experience. They love children and will always do what is best for the child.

My child will be leaving in 2 weeks for her freshman year in college! Now that is a heart breaker, but also one of our proudest moments in our child's life... Good luck to you and love your baby.. She will be gone before you know it..

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S.S.

answers from Austin on

I had that problem with my son when he was born. We were lucky and didn't have to come in for a hospital stay. My poor baby had to go in every other day to get tested. It broke my heart. His feet looked like little pin cushions. We were determined to kick the jaundice so he didn't have to endure any more pain. What we did was take off all of Jacob's clothes (except for diaper of course) and take him outside every morning and every evening. You can put her on her belly for just a few minutes or walk around holding her. It's just really important that she be in the direct sunlight. That really helped us. We also started supplementing with the bottle. We breast fed most of the time, but he got 1 or 2 bottles a day to ensure he was getting the nutrition he needed. I wish you the best of luck and congrats on the new little angel!

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J.P.

answers from Austin on

J.,

I'm sorry you're going thru this. Have you considered contacting the Le Leche League? I went to their message boards when my pediatrician told me to stop breastfeeding because my son was having bloody stools and he said my son was allergic to my breastmilk. That just didn't sit right with me, so I went to the LLL website and message boards and found a ton of helpful information, as well as a lot of support for my problem from other moms who went thru similar experiences. With their support, I ended up going back to nursing my son, and I saw a pediatric GI specialist who told me I did the right thing. Turns out my son was lactose intolerant from MY DIET. So I've been 100% dairy-free for about 5 months now and there's been ZERO bloody diapers again since then.

Sorry, I kind of got off the topic. Contacting the Le Leche League is FREE, and those women are so happy to help. If you don't want to speak to someone, you can go to the message boards and research the topic or post a message. Here is the LLL website: http://www.llli.org/ And here is the link to the message boards: http://forums.llli.org/

Good luck to you!

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J.W.

answers from Houston on

You do NOT need to stop. My oldest had jaundice really bad due to lots of bruising. We nursed right through it and he is fine. As long as you nurse enough for the baby to have lots of diapers she will be fine. IMO doctors of the older generation have the stop nursing opinion. Most newer doctors don't.

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J.P.

answers from Austin on

J.,

I had the same issue with my baby girl. We had her under the lamps for 3 days. My nurses and doctor were understanding about me wanting to continue to breastfeed so I got to do both formula and breastfeeding. We finally were released from the hospital once her levels reached 12 but by the 1 week appointment it was back up. We had her in a room with a lot of sunlight for most of the day and again I alternated between formula and breastfeeding. I also took her out for about 10 minutes in the shade while it was sunny. It took another few days of going in and testing but it finally went down and she was stayed normal levels. The only reason why they say to give her formula is that it helps her poop more which gets rid of the toxins. Sunlight and pooping is the only way of getting rid of the problem. Hope this helps - good luck!

- J

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M.N.

answers from Longview on

Do not let go of breastfeeding. My sister in law went throught the same thing with two of her children. There are other options. Have you tried putting her near a window in only her diaper and let the sun shine on her? There is also a belli blanket they wrap the baby in and it has the lights in it. My sister in law used that for my nephew and continued to nurse. Maybe you need a new doctor. If the doctor cannot support you in nursing maybe he/she is not the right one for your precious little one.

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F.F.

answers from San Antonio on

A really good book you might want to look at is "The Ultimate Breastfeeding Answer Book" by Jack Newman. He has a whole chapter on Jaundice in breastfed babies. Here's how it starts:

Myth: A baby who is jaundiced should be taken off the breast until his bilirubin goes down.

Fact: It is almost never necessary to stop breastfeeding because of jaundice. Not only is it not necessary, but it is not good, because the baby is deprived of breastfeeding. Furthermore, stopping breastfeeding even for a day or two may make breastfeeding more difficult, even impossible, for the mother.

He goes on to talk about why formula feeding is unnecessary. He says that as long as your baby is eating well (lots of poopy diapers), he or she should be OK (pooping is how babies get rid of the bilirubin.

Before doing anything to change your breastfeeding, I would contact La Leche League for information.

Be strong. It is worth protecting your breastfeeding relationship. Your baby's jaundice will be short lived, but the relationship you establish through breastfeeding and the health benefits that come from it will last the rest of your baby's life.

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S.B.

answers from Houston on

My third child experienced what you are doing now. I breast fead thru it all and we even did the billilights for a week.
Remeber you can always pump if you stop for 2 days so you can breast feed after2 days.

S. B
Mom of 3

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K.A.

answers from Austin on

OH my Goodness you are telling my youngest daughters exact story! My doctor told me that she had breast milk jaundice (something in my breast milk kept her from processing the bilirubin) I stopped breast feeding for a week and was just distraught! I thought that my baby wouldn't know how to breast feed again after taking a bottle for a week. But I used the breast pump and gave her formula for a week and when it was all over she latched on again like nothing had ever happened. Her bili levels went down and it all worked out. She did get very constipated from the formula. I ended up having to give her a suppository which was way too much fun let me tell you!
I know this sucks! But it will be over soon.
Good Luck!
K.

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J.J.

answers from Austin on

As long as she is eating well (plenty of wet and dirty diapers) I wouldn't introduce formula because it very well could jeopardize your nursing (supply and demand, nipple confusion, etc...). Also, billirubin numbers tend to peak around the first week mark anyway, so likely they won't get much higher.

What you should do is keep you baby in sunny spots even when sleeping. Stay by windows, shades up where the sun comes in. My first had some serious jaundice issues, all babies have some, but our first's numbers reached 16. Our pediatrician who was very nursing supportive ordered us to just sit on couches and chairs in front of "sunny" windows exposing his arms and legs whenever possible. We were also told to spend a minimum of 30 minutes a day (could be broken up into 10 or 15 minute blocks) outside in the shade with baby mostly naked (diaper only).

Billi-lights only mock the sun's natural rays and sunshine is the best medicine for jaundice.

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D.G.

answers from Houston on

J.,
I haven't read the other responses so I may just be saying something that someone already said, but I suggest you go to another doctor who is not a formula pusher. That just drives me crazy to hear. Both of my children had Jaundice. My son worse than my daughter. He had to stay extra days at the hospital under lights. We came home at 5 days old and he still was reading with jaundice levels at his one week appointment (so was my daughter although she was never under the lights). Once home from the hospital my children never took a bottle. My son took a couple of bottles while we were still in the hospital waiting for my milk to come in. If your milk has come in, there is no difference for the Jaundice whether it is formula or breastmilk. And, of course you've read that your milk production is a supply and demand situation. If you start giving her formula, she will not need as much of your milk, she will drink less of your milk, and you will begin producing less. My son nursed without ever having formula until he was 22 months old. His jaundice went away slowly but surely (it was winter and there wasn't much sunlight to sit around in) and he is just fine. Our doctor is Dr. Tsai-Weinburg at FM 1960 pediatrics if you want to talk to a dr who is not a formula pusher.

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T.V.

answers from Houston on

I would not stop nursing unless there is some reason to believe you are causing the jaundice which would be really strange, especially since breast milk is far better than formula could ever hope to be.

Try spending some time outdoors over the next few days, maybe in the early morning or late evening so it's not so hot and she can get some natural sunlight. Open all you shades/blinds in your home to let in light and definately keep up the research and see what else you can find that might help.

Best wishes!

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S.H.

answers from Houston on

The same thing happened to my son, only his went up to 20 on day 4. He was at Tx Childrens for 24 hours (under the billi lights) and it went down to 14. I took him back to the doctor on day 6 and it was 13. The doctor told me that the number was okay because he was already getting a few days older and they are only very concerned until one week of age. So he was fine and I never stopped breastfeeding. They fed him formula that one night, but only because I was not allowed to stay there with him. I took him back on day 10 (just for my own peace of mind) and he was fine. We just took him to the pool, he and I sat and watched my husband and two daughters play in the water while he soaked in the sun. (I took off his clothes and just had him in his pamper.) I hope this helps. Everything should be okay. It starts to go away at about 9 to 10 days old. My other two had it, but not as high a level as his. Just to let you know, the pedi said that with each child it gets worse especially if you and the child are not the same blood type. All three of my children have my husbands blood type. I don't know if they explained that when you have a different blood type from the baby, your blood is still in the baby after birth via the umbilical cord. So the babys blood cells fight your blood cells and the result is the bilirubin (not sure how or why, but that is how our pedi explained it.) Good luck and don't let this get you down.

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E.L.

answers from Houston on

Yes, you're being bullied. Look at www.llli.org (I think they have info. on bf through jaundice) and you can search pubmed for studies (the abstracts/summaries are free). BF as long as possible because that dear little baby of yours needs it! Hurray for a Mom who takes the time to question ill medical advice.

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B.R.

answers from Austin on

I wish I could advise on the breastfeeding, but I don't really know about that. I do know, however, that when our first son was born, his bilirubin score was so high that we had to take him to the pediatrician daily for his first week after being released from the hospital. One thing I did that finally helped bring it down was to expose him to sunlight. I would take off his diaper, and lay him naked on the bed near a window and let the sun shine on him for a few minutes at a time. Obviously, his newborn skin was very delicate, and could burn easily, so I kept these exposures brief. And, of course, I would never recommend laying a naked baby outside in this heat. But, natural sunlight, in carefully measured doses can work miracles.
Blessings to your family.

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M.B.

answers from Houston on

You already have many responses, so I will keep mine brief...Don't be bullied into formula feeding! Stay tough and stick to your guns! I successfully breastfed both of my children, though I truthfully did better with the second one. (I was able to give my daughter breastmilk even during her 62 days in the hospital ICU!) I know it can be hard when a doctor is telling you differently (been there), but hang in there.

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C.M.

answers from Houston on

I worked at a Pediatric office for 4 years and I also have 3 children. Anytime my kids had a touch of jaundice, they told me to get the baby out in the sun; feed him/her by a window if direct sunlight is too hot. I hope this helps.
C. M.

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K.T.

answers from Houston on

If anything, I would ONLY supplement with sugar water. If you don't breastfeed for 2 days, you will not get your milk in. We went through the exact same thing with our oldest (now 8). I stuck by my guns and would not allow formula. I knew that nature would take care. I did, however, pump and supplement while breastfeeding with this contraption that put a little tube near my nipple. You would need to see a lactation consultant for that (contact the hospital you delivered). It was very slow-going, and lots of threats from nurses, but he did fine. If she is pooping, that is great. If you're not happy with your pedi, there are lots out there. Ours listens to what we want. We have to realize that they are human to, and sometimes they can be very opinionated.
With my 2nd (now 6) we knew he would be jaundice by cord blood tests at birth. With him, he went straight to the bili-light in the hospital. Since he stayed there for 3 days, I was not able to feed him every time. They did have to supplement with formula and my pumped milk. He took to breastfeeding just fine once we went home.

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A.S.

answers from Odessa on

hi J., i just recently had my son and went throught the same exact thing. his billi was at a 16.9 and he also had to go under the lights the after a day it went down to a 14 and then within 6 hours after jumoed back up to a 15. i was also breastfeeding. the dr. recommended that i take him off of breat milk for 24 hours and continue with the lights. not something that i wanted to do but working in this field i knew it was best. after the 24 hour period it was down to a 13 and i kept him off til it get down to a 12.9 and then i started him back on it again..the reason it helps is cause the baby is trying to break down your cells and when doing that babies tend to become jaundice, well when you are breastfeeding you are putting more of your cells into their body and so it takes longer for them to break everything down..so when you take them off of the breatmilk for a period of time it helps them get better faster! i continued to pump for the time that he was off the breast and it gave me a headstart on a supply! good luck and i hope this helps!!

A.

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J.S.

answers from Houston on

Congrats on your new baby girl!

I went through the same thing in May with my daughter. They recommend that you formula feed only because your blood type might be different then your daughters and this might be causing the billie level to go up. Also, you can continue to pump and save the milk so that you can continue to breast feed when her levels begin to drop again.

Also, the doctor explained to me that the older the baby gets, the higher that the billie levels can be. A billie level of 14 is not critical at the age your daughter is now but if she were just a few days old she would be kept under double lights (dr. said it was confusing but I hope I am explaining it clearly)...

I would at least try the formula feeding and sunlight therapy as they recommend since it has gone up so much in a short period of time.

I understand your worries and I wish you the best luck with your new baby girl!!!

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L.M.

answers from Houston on

Bili levels peak at day 8 and then gadually go down in normal babies. Chances are good that the level will be lower on Monday regardless of whether you breastfeed or not. I would not want to stop breastfeeding either if I was you.

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B.M.

answers from Houston on

My little girl had the same thing at birth and I was breastfeeding exclusively too. I was also pumping to build up my supply and to have some extra breast milk. Our pediatrician recommended that I formula feed for a couple days to bring the bili levels down. After questioning him more, he said that the reason was to increase the volume she was eating and not specifically that the formula was better than breast milk in lowering Bili levels. Bilirubins are processed through the digestive system, so the more the baby eats and passes stool, the faster they are worked out of the body. Babies that are bottle feed eat more than babies that are breastfeed because it's less work to eat from a bottle. Since I had stored breast milk I gave her an extra 1-2 ounces with each feeding in addition to nursing her to increase the volume she was eating. Worked like a charm, in 3 days her levels started to lower and we were able to get back to just nursing. You can also put your baby in indirect sun light to help the body process the bilirubins. I hope that helps.

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L.N.

answers from Austin on

Yes, don't give up on the breastfeeding! My milk came in late so they gave him supplemental formula from a bottle. Even though some babies are okay with both breast and bottles, mine just gave up the breast and wouldn't even try to breastfeed even when I had an adequate milk supply. I had to pump and gave him all breastmilk and only by totally getting rid of the bottles and dedicating a whole weekend in forcing him back to the boob due to hunger did I teach him to exclusively breastfeed. If you must supplement, use an eye dropper or the SNS though I didn't have that great an experience with the SNS because the tiny tubes are really hard to clean. Good luck with everything. Even though it's so overwhelming at the beginning, once the hormones start to stabilize and your daughter recovers from the jaundice, all these postpartum problems will not seem as important.

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K.T.

answers from San Antonio on

I second everything that Frances said. I might add that if you are committed to breastfeeding do not give your baby a bottle. It can create nipple confusion and it can be really hard to get the baby to go back to the breast.

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C.B.

answers from Austin on

Find a new pediatrician! Or tell him (I find it hard to believe a woman would give that advice)to come up with another way of testing. Stick to your instincts here. Formula is confusing.

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S.S.

answers from Beaumont on

While breast feeding is absolutly wonderful and has lots of benifits for mom & baby there is a reason pedi's recomend giving formula to infants with high bili (or jaundice) levels like your child. The protien make up of fomula (similac advance or enfamil lipil etc) binds with the bilirubin in the blood and the infant is able to pass it out faster than with breastmilk. Infants are not able to prosess the break down of the blood as you & I. Dont think your pedi is being a bully by pushing the issue the internet doesnt always give the best advice talk with you doctor. But there is also a contraption thing that you wear as a backpack & a tube comes over your nipple so that the baby can get formula & breast milk if your adament on nursing how ever they can be quite costly check with local med supply store, leche league or lactation consultant. BUt two days of supplemting & nursing wont hurt & wont cause nipple confusion if you nurse a little than give bottle with formula. The most important thing is get the bili levels down because levels to high can be dangerous. Hope this helps I know its scary as a FTM and you want to do whats best for your children

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S.B.

answers from Houston on

My son had mild jaundice and I kept breastfeeding. What difference does nursing vs. formula do? Did your doctor tell why the formula was more beneficial? It took about 4 weeks for my son to get over the jaundice. My pedi was not concerned because it was mild-just his face (not below his neck) was yellowish and his eyes were 'muddy'. She recommended to keep nursing and as long as stools and enough wet diapers then he was fine. Look on the mothering.com website and research there and see what they say...it's very pro-mother and pro-nursing and all things natural. If you do give formula then pump for those days and save (freeze) your milk for later use. Stand your ground with your doctor and follow your instinct-we aren't as dumb as some doctors want us to think we are. I also made sure my son was exposed to sunlight...even on a cloudy day I would just set him by the window so he'd get some natural sun. It seemed like it took forever for his eyes to clear up but they did finally.

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D.G.

answers from Houston on

My daughter had newborn jaundice and "breastmilk jaundice".

We did end up supplementing with formula for one day, but that was only because she wasn't nursing well. It took her a little longer than normal to pass her meconium, and it was hard for her to stay awake for a good nursing session and her jaundice was getting worse. She also wasn't gaining well, and barely had six wet/poopy diapers in a 24 hour period.

After a day of syringe feeding her formula her output increased and she was nursing like a champ.

If she had been less sleepy (or had more energy to nurse longer), or had more soaking wet diapers, or was gaining well I might not have supplemented.

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C.M.

answers from Austin on

My baby also had high jaundice levels and had to use a bili bed for four days. We got to take it home and use it. But no one at my pediatrician's office told me to switch to formula. I don't know that I would have done it anyway. I just fed my son very often so that the jaundice would be pushed out of his body faster. It worked, and my son's level was at 18! I guess doctor's have differing opinions on what they think works better for different circumstances.

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E.S.

answers from Houston on

My daughter was also jaundice. She had to stay in the hospital under the billirubin lights. I was also told to use formula, but not wanting to give a bottle, the nurse brought in a device (I dont remember what it was called) that had a tube I taped to my breast. At the other end was a syringe that had formula in it. As she nursed, she not only got breastmilk, but formula too. This also stimulated my breasts to keep the milk flow up. Doing this helped clear up the jaundice and allowed me to keep my dream of breastfeeding. Hope this helps and good luck.

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S.B.

answers from Austin on

Hi J.,
I would suggest to keep breastfeeding. When my son was born he was a bit jaundiced as well. Our midwife said that breastfeeding was a great way to help the jaundice. She also suggested that he get sunlight. We would strip him down to his diaper and hold him near a window. It doesn't need to be direct sunlight (as you don't want to get her sunburned). You could take her outside in the early evening when it's not so bright.
Hope that helps!

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E.E.

answers from Waco on

J.,

I had the same problem with my daughter and was given the same advice as you. I have done extensive research on this subject and I'd like to give you my 2 cents. Take it for whatever it is worth. Here goes: First of all, you are doing the right thing with the phototherapy. Keep it up. Phototherapy helps to dissolve the extra bilirubin in the skin, allowing it to be excreted in your babies urine. We were able to get a phototherapy blanket and that was great because we could still hold her quite a bit. The reason your pedi is probably telling you to supplement with formula over the next two days is, bottom-line, because he/she wants those numbers to go down and doesn't want to take any chances. The formula will help to make sure your baby is getting enough fluid to flush the bilirubin out of your baby's system. If your baby's bili levels go up, there is a risk of brain damage. I do not say that to scare you, but the risk is there. In most cases, jaundice is harmless. At one week, my milk still had not quite come in and the formula we used helped to ensure she was getting adequate fluid to flush everything out. Some studies have shown that in some mothers, the breastmilk contains a substance that is believed to interfere with bilirubin absorption. Still today, there is some debate about whether or not this is true, but in almost all of the cases, when the baby is given formula for a couple of days, the bili levels go down. Like I said, I am quite sure this is why your pedi is advising you to go with the formula for a couple of days. He/she just doesn't want to take any chances.

With all that being said, if you want to continue breastfeeding (which I highly recommend, BTW) you have two options. 1. You can pump for 48 hours, but you will need help and will need to ensure that you are pumping every 2-3 hours to keep your milk supply up. OR 2. Work with your lactation consultant and see if she can't hook you up with a supplemental system (if I remember correctly Medela makes a good one). This will allow you to put formula in a little bottle you wear around your neck. A tube is at the bottom. You will tape the small tube to your breast and place the end of the rube at your nipple. This will ensure that your baby is getting your milk, along with the extra fluid from the formula and should not disrupt your breastfeeding at all. In hind sight, I would go with option #2. I went with option #1 and had a heck of a time trying to keep up with demand and getting her back on the breast after giving her a bottle. The good news is, our baby is now a happy, healthy toddler and we were able to get past the whole jaundice thing in a week or two. After weeks of trying to get her back into the swing of breastfeeding, I breastfed for a year. Best of luck to you! You are a great mommy for taking such good care of your little one!

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J.R.

answers from Houston on

All three of my girls were jaundiced on day 2. There's no reason to stop breastfeeding, in fact, the more you breastfeed your baby the faster the little "bili"s will get flushed out. It does take time though for the jaundice to go away. I do recall that the number when up a little bit before it came down. There is such a thing as breastfeeding jaundice, but it's rare and even then there's no reason to stop breastfeeding. How and when you feed your child is up to you and the baby.

One additional thing to watch...are the numbers you talk about "total" bilirubin? There are three numbers to look for regarding bilirubin - total (the number doctors usually talk about), direct and indirect. The direct number is important, that number should be 0.3 or less. If after 4 weeks, your baby is still jaundice, see a specialist. I've actually had a lot of experience with this, and would be happy to discuss it further with you offline if you like. Good luck!

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M.D.

answers from Longview on

My 2 month old son also had high levels. The doctor said that he wasn't as concerned about the number on the second test (16 at two days old) because he was gaining weight and was able to be woken up (he slept most of the time being a month early) that was the only reason he wasn't sent back to the hospital. The mention of formula rather than breastfeeding ws given to me as well as that might be needed. Thankfully we managed to avoid it. The way it was explained to me was that if he needed formula rather than brest milk, I could pump for those couple of days and then go back to breast feeding. I might add that I wasn't producing milk yet because of receiving magnisium sulfate in the hospital that slows all body process down. I was told by a lactation consultant that that if I pumped it won't hinder my milk coming in if I had to use formula. I really wanted to breastfeed only, but thought what is best for my son is best even if it means that I can't do what I want for a few days. I was also told to expose him to sunlight as much as possible either through a window or outside. I did that for 3 days and had him checked again and thankfully his levels were going down enough that we didn't need anymore tests, just was told to keep letting him "sunbath" until all of the yellow was gone. My son now has a great tan.

My mom told me that when I was born and all of my siblings also had the jaundice issue and back then they didn't have the lights, so she set us in a window as well and it worked fine.

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T.P.

answers from El Paso on

MY child had really bad jaundice...he got up to 27. The flux is normal and peaks about day 4 or 5. If breastfeeding is going well and baby is getting plenty to eat, then keep right on doing it. The key is if she is have good poops and her diaper is wet. That is how they get rid of the jaundice. In the mean time if she is still at home, go buy a plant light from Home Depot or Lowes and place it over her sleeping area. Just keep her in a diaper while she is under it. Also direct sunlight will help it too. I doubled up and placed my son's pack-n-play under a window and put the light on top. The light is not so bright that it hurts their litle eyes.
As to the breastfeeding...keep doing it. If she doesn't get any better then one or two bottles of formula might help a little. It is a little thicker so the jaundice "sticks" to it and the body can eliminate it faster. But a few bottles at most, no reason to stop breastfeeding for days at a time.
Hope that helps. Good luck.

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J.S.

answers from Austin on

You are correct. There is no reason to stop breastfeeding as long as the levels don't get too out of hand. Make sure to take your baby outside for some indirect sun -- early morning and evening works great since it is a bit cooler and the sun is less intense. Keep getting the baby tested regularly and talk with your doctor about signs to watch out for that would mean the levels were getting too high.

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C.G.

answers from Houston on

I had the same issues with my son except more extreme. His blood level shot up to 21 and we stayed in the hospital 10 days, then for two weeks I had a nurse come in and take his blood daily. You need to be sure that your daughter is receiving enough milk in order for her bilirubin count to go down. I would pump and my son would drink from a medicine cup at 3 days old, this way we could measure the ounces he was receiving. I also breast feed as much as I possible could but since your breast does not have a gage you can’t determine that she is sucking enough milk out during each feeding and the fluids you put into her body is what will flush the jaundice out. Her poopie diapers should be grainy/yellow and should happen more often. As I’m sure you have read jaundice is caused from the baby’s liver not being fully developed. It takes some time for the red and whites cells to communicate. Your breast milk may contain a substance that increases reuse of bilirubin in the intestines which can cause or add to the jaundice. Talk to your OBGYN and the pediatrician but I believe you can still pump and save the milk for after your daughter is clear. Keep the lights on her as well all the time, ask for a billy belt. Best of Luck to you, my prayers are with you!

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A.E.

answers from Sherman on

There is absolutely NO reason to stop breastfeeding. Check out the LaLeche League's website - they should have some good resources about breastfeeding and should be able to give you some good resources to take to your doctor.

Her levels are improving? There's no reason to change. *grin* Your instincts are right Momma. :-)

A. <><

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N.W.

answers from Austin on

My baby had jaundice also and went it up to 16 (we had daily bili checks till it started to fall) and they never advised me to stop breastfeeding, just feed often(2-3 Hrs around the clock). They just need to eat lots in order to pass the bilirubin out of their systems. The sun will break down bilirubin also (just not too long with a newborn) My daughter is 8 months old and fine and is breastfed, no formula at all. Good luck- with whatever you decide (I will tell you if you stop for two days it will be harder to restart...even with pumping)

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M.K.

answers from Houston on

J.,

I had a similar thing happen with my first born. I was really stressed. I wish I had mama saurce back then. Sometimes the antibodies in our breast milk can cause jaundice. My son was blood type O- and I am O+, I guess there was some conflict. He had to be under the lights too. My mother in law gave me good advice when I finally brought my son home. Put your baby in the Sun (in only her diaper). It will help to break down the billirubin. We put our son's crib by the window so he would get the morning sun. He quite enjoyed it too. I also kept breastfeeding. He is now a wonderfully rambunctious 4 year old.

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S.D.

answers from Austin on

My son had jaundice for the first 3 weeks of his life, his level at its highest was 21. We had the bililights device at home and went in every morning to get his blood tested. I was told to supplement formula also, I was told his levels would go down if I did...hold onto your beliefs. If you want to breastfeed and your child is eating like a champ, don't supplement even if you pump, unless you have one that helps stimulate your supply, it will decrease. There really is no need, the levels will eventually go down.
Also, sunlight does the same thing as the bililights, sit in front of a sunny window or outside as much as possible. Sunlight is suppose to have the same effects as the bililights. Keep in mind that you can't apply sunscreen on an infant until 6 months of age so be careful too.

Good luck!

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M.L.

answers from San Antonio on

There is no reason to stop breatfeeding infact my doctor said that was the best thing so they could recieve the things they needed.Eating habits are not the cause anyways..

Also so we did not have to put my daughter under the bulds going outside will do the same thing.Take her out for a 15min walk aroung your yard or set with her in the sun do this a few times and for as long as it takes and you see changes.Do it enough to expose her to the light and not enough to get burned. For some reason mid morning and evenings are good,I guess it has to do with the way the sun is or something.This helped with are daught and we did it for a week,I am not sure she was has bad.

But doctors do not always know everything and if you feel like that you might try a different doctor too.

Good Luck!!

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L.F.

answers from Austin on

J.,

My son was jaundiced for the first three months of life with something known as "breast milk jaundice". I too, was told to stop breastfeeding. I did not, and it eventually resolved itself. I did give a bottle of formula here and there, I think more to ease my own guilt at not following the doctor's orders. I'm not giving advice, just wanted to share my experience. Good luck.

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S.M.

answers from Austin on

Both of my children had jaundice. My son had it worse with the higher levels. My pediatrician and the nurse encouraged breastfeeding because I had so much milk and he was doing great on his diapers and getting enough food. I was told to let him sit in the sun light by the window in his bouncer just wearing a diaper so he could get the sunlight and to also to sit outside with him for just a little while to soke up the vitamin D from the sun. I never heard a Dr to say to stop breastfeeding if the child was doing that well with eating and gaining. I am not a pediatrician so I really can't give you a medical opinion only an opinion as what I experienced. You could just supplement maybe one bottle a formula but I would talk more with your Dr. and explain your concerns - I would not quit breastfeeding if it was me but I still ask more questions. I wish you luck. The jaundice normally just lasts 2 weeks.

S. - Working mom of 2

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J.P.

answers from Austin on

First, you don't NEED to suplement with formula. Doctors usually recommend formula because your milk production might not be very high. If you just feed her as often as possible, drink lots of water, and maybe even get some Mother's Milk Tea (HEB has is) to boost your supply you should be fine. The best thing for the jaundice is frequent "feedings" (not necessarily formula) and SUNLIGHT. Get her down to her diaper and lay her down on a blanket on the carpet next to a window. You don't have to take her outside. Just lay her down and expose her to sunlight to help process the bilirubin out of her system. Do this as much as possible. It worked great for both of my kids!!

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R.T.

answers from Houston on

My daughter was born 5 weeks early and then had to stay in the NICU for a week after she was born because her lungs were not fully developed. While she was in NICU I pumped and took my milk to the hospital. I was producing plenty of milk and the nurses even told me that I should not have any problems breastfeeding. As soon as she was off of the vent, I began to nurse her during the hours that I could be with her. A week later she was released. They told me that she was developing a slight case of jaundice but to just make sure she nursed on a regular basis and put her in indirect sunlight and it should clear up on its own but to take her to the doctor in about 5 days for a recheck. After she came home she was going to the breast every 2-3 hours and seemed to be satisfied, was sleeping well, and having dirty diapers. So all seemed well on the homefront. Five days later I took my pumpkin colored baby back to the doctor and he suggested that I suppliment with formula (to make sure that she was getting enough to eat since the more they eat the quicker the jaundice improves and most of our breast do not come with measuring cups to know how many ounces that baby is getting) over the weekend and then have her come back and get tested again. I thought instead of formula I would just pump and then feed her with a bottle since she was used to having both while she was in the hospital. I tried pumping all weekend and there was nothing there. Apparently I had dried up eventhough it appeared she was nursing well, there was nothing there for her to drink. Talk about mommy guilt - thinking that I had been starving my daughter. So we had to start using formula. When we went back on Monday she was a beautiful normal colored baby.

I had dreams of having the perfect natural delivery and being able to share the bonding time of nursing and everything else that some say make you the perfect mom however I had to have an emergency c-section and had to formula feed her. Both of these were done to save her life and that is what a real mom does. She does what is best for her child not what everyone else tells her is best for her child. I even had complete strangers come up to me at the mall when I was bottle feeding my daughter and tell me that if I was a real mom that I would be breastfeeding and not bottle feeding. I never could figure out how what I did or did not do with my breast was any of their business.

I say all of this not to tell you what to do or not to do or to pass any judgment onto you or any other mother. I just want to encourage you to do what is best for your baby and your circumstances and sometimes that is not the same as what the lastest trend is in mothering.

By the way my daughter is now 14. She is and has always been healthy, tall (5ft10in), and is at the top of her class. She is also turning into a beautiful women inside and out and we have a great bond.

Congrats on your beautiful daughter. The best advice that I was given about mothering actually came from my peditrician. He told me to follow my mommy instincts. They will be right most of the time. If breastfeeding is very important to you, you might want to call the doctor back and find out why he/she wants you to use formula. Is it because of something in the formula or because they want to know how many ounces she is actually eating. If it is a matter of how much maybe you can continue to nurse but also pump and then feed with a bottle. Or nurse and suppliment with formula.

Best wishes.

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J.H.

answers from Houston on

Congratulations on your baby girl. This is a very exciting and tiring time. I was in a similar position to you. My baby boy was sent home, but the lights were delivered to us at home. His belliruben count was 14 too. What my pediatrician told me was to breastfeed like normal and then top him off with a little formula. I think about 2 oz. I did this for about 2 days and it helped. He had no problem taking both the bottle and breast and still can do both. He is almost 6 months and I am only breastfeeding still.
Do what you are comfortable with, but also listen to your doctor. Ask her/him if it is okay to do breast then a bottle. Don't worry....you will be able to still give her breastmilk.
Good luck and I think it is wonderful you are nursing. It can be hard, but it is the best!

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S.B.

answers from Austin on

Good for you for breastfeeding. I will give you my two cents. I am a labor/delivery/postpartum nurse, so I see this quite often. I also exclusively breastfeed both my boys. I would breastfeed you baby and then give a little formula. Your goal is to get your baby to poop and pee the bilirubin out of it's system. So there is no reason to stop breastfeeding just give a little formula AFTER your breastfeed. My second was jaudice and this is what I did and it worked out fine. This is also what we recommend at my hospital. Stand your ground and don't stop breastfeeding, just add a bit of formula to her diet.

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V.L.

answers from Houston on

My daughter was also born Jaundice, and it too got worse. I supplemented with formula so we could GO HOME. I took her home and dropper fed for 2 days and her levels began to lower steady. They later increased again, but it turned out she has a rare metabolic disorder called Galactosemia. This caused the jaundice. She went between the formula and breastmilk no problem. Now because of her condition I have to bottle feed exclusively soy. I would not worry too much about giving a bit of formula it really does help lower the levels. In my case we had to stop breastfeeding so there are reasons sometimes that you must stop! Good luck!

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A.R.

answers from Austin on

Hi J.. The internet is right: You DO NOT need to stop breastfeeding because of the jaundice. Jaundice is VERY common in newborns and breastfeeding usually helps get the excess bilirubin (which causes the jaundice) out of the baby's system faster than formula. There are very rare instances in which breastmilk causes jaundice, but that occurs in less than 1% of cases. Please see "The Baby Book" by William Sears and Martha Sears, pages 55-58, for more good information about jaundice. Also, consider finding a new pediatrician. Yours seems misinformed. My first baby was a little jaundiced but I kept breastfeeding and she was fine in a few days. Breastfeeding is absolutely the best thing for your baby. If you switch to formula, even for a couple of days, it may be hard to reestablish the breastfeeding relationship. Good luck!

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M.S.

answers from Houston on

I don't know the numbers but my son had jaundice, I can even remember at 4 wks someone telling me he looks a little yellow, never saw that but I now look back at pictures and can. I was told to nurse him often, as much as he wanted and that it would work his way out of his system. He did great, I fed him all the time, was never told to give him formula, I was encouraged to nurse him.

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K.R.

answers from Longview on

My baby girl had this for a couple of weeks. We never had to do the lights, however. But my doctor told me that the breastmilk digests so well and the formula is more like it has a little junk in it (their words, not mine) that the formula is more likely to make the baby pass stool quicker. The passing of the stool helps get that out of the body and brings down the bilirubin faster. I think we went to half bottle and half breastmilk, and perhaps I pumped in between. I can't remember. But I didn't have to cut her off from nursing, and giving her formula part of the time doesn't spoil her to a bottle. It was the most healthful thing for my baby because she got back to good health sooner. And my baby is 19 months old now and still not weaned completely so apparently it doesn't hurt your nursing process. Wishing your baby a speedy recovery!

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K.W.

answers from Austin on

Both of my kids were jaundice when they were born. I don't think you should stop breastfeeding. It is difficult enough to keep breastfeeding so I would think you don't want to interrupt that good pattern you are in. THe breast milk shouldn't have anything to do with the babies levels! Just keep on doing what you are doing and maybe put the baby in a sunny spot in the house. THe numbers should come down.

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A.B.

answers from Houston on

I had a similar experience, but as soon as my baby girl tested for jaundice, they immediately put her under the lights at the hospital and brought her to me every three hours to nurse, then supplemented her with formula. I did not want to do this, but they pretty much gave me no choice. When we got home from the hospital, we continued to supplement until her levels went to normal. I truly feel like supplementing with formula interfered with my supply and I struggled for awhile, feeling like I was not making enough. My advice to you is instead of giving formula, start pumping after every feeding and in between and supplement her with what you pump. It all worked out though. My daughter turned a year old yestereday and we are still nursing, so just stay strong and don't give up. It is so worth it! Good luck and I will pray that your baby's jaundice gets better.

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K.K.

answers from Austin on

My son was jaundice for almost two months, many many blood tests later...he is perfect and ever so handsome minus the George Hamilton tan. They even thought his liver had something wrong it....NEVER once was I asked to stop nursing. Our billi count was between 12 and 18 at its highest. My doctor told me to have him in the bouncer near a window...also we had a vitamin called Poly vi Sol. Don't be bullied into everything they say...tell them what you are and aren't willing to do. Find a new Doc if you can't see eye to eye.
Good luck,
k

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P.L.

answers from Houston on

A good friend of mine had a daughter who got jaundice very early on as well. They put her under the lights, too. Here's the deal - it's ultraviolet light that helps. So take baby girl outside for some fresh air and sunlight and don't ever let anyone tell you that breastfeeding your child is not the best possible thing for her. There is absolutely nothing better.

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D.H.

answers from College Station on

I know you already have a lot of post, and I have not read through them, so I'm sorry if I repeat someone. I had 3 babies with Jaundice. I felt pressured, too with the first 2. With the 3rd I supplimented before they even asked. I knew he was jaundice before he was even diagnosed. I supplemented 1 feeding a day, and nursed the rest of the time. The supplemented feeding was the largest of the day, and within a few days he was cleared up, and never got as bad as the other 2 got. So don't stop breastfeeding. Just supplement a feeding (and pump it for later). That way you comprimise with the dr's, keep yourself feeling good about it, and stock up some milk for another day!

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