Prolonged Jaundice

Updated on July 09, 2009
H.P. asks from Winter Park, FL
9 answers

Has anyone dealt with prolonged jaundice with a newborn. My son is 4 weeks old & still has it. They have run a battery of tests. As of yesterday, his levels were at 14.2, they were 14.6 on Friday, so not much of an improvement. They tested my blood to make sure that I havent developed antibodies & I havent. So breastmilk jaundice has been ruled out.
His hemoglobin (sp?) is low, should be 40 & it's 32. His red blood cell count is low. And he is anemic. That could be b/c they are drawing so much blood from him. They are thinking that it is something to do with his red blood cells or liver. We are waiting for more results that should be in today or tomorrow. There are 2 conditions that he could have. They were very long medical terms that I cannot remember, nor would I even know how to spell them.
I just thought I'd ask if anybody had any words to help me. I am beside myself over the idea that something isnt perfect, with my perfect baby.
Thank you!

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answers from Miami on

I had a similar situation with my boy it took almost 2 months to get rid of jaundice, but since he was born 4 weeks earlier, they said this condition is more commom. They did the blook test and it was ok...however, I took him out of breastmilk for one week and keep putting him for some daily sun! and then he got better. Now I breastfeed him (8 mo) and all is well.

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answers from Melbourne on

Hi H.,

I was just wondering if you are putting your baby in the sun? Most doctors like the babies to go under those special lamps, but in the natural healing books I've read and the best midwive's I've known advice is to place the baby naked on a blanket (making sure the baby is not too hot or cold)in front of a closed window for ten minutes at a time, maybe three times a day if I remember right, making sure that the bright light isn't in the baby's eyes. Do five minutes on the back, and five minutes on the tummy. I did this with all my kids and they were great.I actually kept them in the sun longer. I saw other women running back and forth to the hospital all the time to put them under the light, but my kids cleared up far faster, and it was so much easier! Sunlight does wonders for everyone, and it may help regulate your baby's system. I don't usually look to allopathic doctors or medicine to heal me and my family, but to nature. It usually works everytime. Good luck!



answers from Jacksonville on

It sounds like you are overwhelmed by "doctor speak". Please make sure that you understand the information the doctors are trying to give you.. ask as many questions as you need to until you understand, and take notes so that if you have a question later at home, you can refer back to your notes, etc.

Red blood cells naturally deteriorate over time, and are replaced by the body. As they break down bilirubin is the result. The liver filters all the "gunk" out of our blood, but if the bilirubin isn't getting removed efficiently then you see the yellowing... when the bilirubin isn't properly eliminated from the body. Sometimes newborn livers are still too immature to fully filter the bilirubin out. An excess buildup of bilirubin in the bloodstream can be dangerous.

Feeding more frequently (if breastfeeding) can help eliminate it by causing the baby to have more bowel movements (one way to remove the bilirubin). Also, the poster who mentioned the sun is also correct that certain light waves can help eliminate the bilirubin. There are special (bili-lights) lights that you can put over the baby to help reduce the bilirubin in his system. Some are used in the hospital, but they DO make some that you can use at home, (I have a nurse friend who used them at home with their son). There are special eye coverings for the baby when they are under this lighting. Ask your doctor about the lights and see what he/she says...

Here is a website with more detailed information that may help you sort out some of what the doctors have told you:



answers from Tallahassee on

My 4th child had jaundice for 2 months, and they did tests on him, and sent home one of those bili-lights for me to put him in and nothing really seemed to help it. I exclusively breastfed him and they wanted me to take him off of breast milk, but I refused. I kept nursing and took him out in the sun in the morning and one day he just got better.
I really wouldn't worry too much about it, unless the blood tests come back showing something. He'll probably out grow it.
Take care,



answers from Fort Walton Beach on

Hi H.,

It's seems you have the medical front covered. I do have a suggestion for you. Most people don't understand that good chiropractic care helps the immune system. I learned this the hard way with my first daughter and my second daughter went for her first visit on her way home from the hospital when she was 3 days old. I'm not saying chiropractic cures everything but I do know that a good chiropractor can get an immune system working at it's optimal level and your little one can start fighting off whatever is wrong. Jaundice, which is usually a liver problem, is generally caused by toxicities in the system. The liver is meant to absorb them so the rest of the body doesn't get poisoned. Too many toxins will poison the liver. An immune system working well is an absolute must. If you don't have a good upper cervical chiropractor that you trust you can go to and see if there is one in your area. (Ask when you talk to them what they can do for the immune system. If they don't know, then move on to the next one. Chiropractors have to be interviewed like any other doctor.) I would not rule out acupuncture either. My husband has avoided surgery on a football injured knee because of a good acupuncturist. If you understand how the body works, these alternative methods make a lot of sense.

H., I believe in the power of prayer over all these things and I and my family will pray that these issues go away quickly and your little one lives a long and joyful life. God bless you as you care for him!




answers from Boca Raton on

my daughter had the same problem, I brought her in the sun for 10 mins a day and nursed her exclusively. Keep up nursing and make sure what you eat is healthy. That's what is making your milk.
Good luck



answers from Orlando on

My son had jaundice at birth...we were tested for infection at the hospital, etc., everything was okay so we were sent home as normal...he continued to have the jaundice and was yellow for ever. I took him out in the sun as they say to do. I nursed my son also. I don't want to scare you but jaundice can be serious--there is something call hyperbilirubinemia

UVA Children's Hospital
***Who is affected by hyperbilirubinemia?

About 60 percent of term newborns and 80 percent of premature babies develop jaundice. Infants of diabetic mothers and of mothers with Rh disease are more likely to develop hyperbilirubinemia and jaundice.
Why is hyperbilirubinemia a concern?

Although low levels of bilirubin are not usually a concern, large amounts can circulate to tissues in the brain and may cause seizures and brain damage. This is a condition called kernicterus.
What are the symptoms of hyperbilirubinemia?

The following are the most common symptoms of hyperbilirubinemia. However, each baby may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

* yellow coloring of the baby's skin (usually beginning on the face and moving down the body)

* poor feeding or lethargy

The symptoms of hyperbilirubinemia may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your baby's physician for a diagnosis.
How is hyperbilirubinemia diagnosed?

The timing of the appearance of jaundice helps with the diagnosis. Jaundice appearing in the first 24 hours is quite serious and usually requires immediate treatment. When jaundice appears on the second or third day, it is usually "physiologic." However, it can be a more serious type of jaundice. When jaundice appears on the third day to the first week, it may be due to an infection. Later appearance of jaundice, in the second week, is often related to breast milk feedings, but may have other causes.

Diagnostic procedures for hyperbilirubinemia may include:

* direct and indirect bilirubin levels
These reflect whether the bilirubin is bound with other substances by the liver so that it can be excreted (direct), or is circulating in the blood circulation (indirect).

* red blood cell counts

* blood type and testing for Rh incompatibility (Coomb's test)

****END of quote

Hyperbilirubinemia can cause brain damage. Stay vigilent with your doctors and do not let them just poo poo your questions away. Get them to do something more to find out what is going on if this persists. My son turned out to have a metabolic issue--he was not able to process more than just bilirubin. After his 2 month shots he fell sick for the first time--threw up his morning feeding--I took him to the doctor--they thought it was only a gastrointestinal virus---I kept calling his docs when he did not seem to be getting better---I was pushed off as a new mother -- make long story short: he had brain damage and it could have been diagnosised earlier. Doctors can do a CT scan or test cerebral spinal fluid to see if he is having an immune response that can wreck havoc with his system--my son has AGS---Aicardi Gutierre Sydrome and the key time to prevent this disorder is when it occurs between 2-5 months---shots can agravate this---There is testing in US...All the best.



answers from Miami on

a chiropractor certainly won't hurt!

ok my advice: keep breastfeeding NO MATTER WHAT!!!
your milk is full of good stuff for your baby!

if you are in miami, I would head to Mercy Hospital Lactation Consultant offices and get an appt w/ Faith Ploude. She will help you even if breastfeeding isn't an 'issue' - she can help with all baby-related issues w/ a breastfeeding mama/baby



answers from Jacksonville on

Take the baby in the sun! My kids had it for a while also. My docs only worried when their biliruben levels were 19 and above for more than a day.
For sure keep feeding him and take him in the sun!
Also have you been given a biliblanket??

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