Alexis Sawyer, M.D.
Jaundice is a common condition that occurs in more than half of all full-term newborns and even more in pre-mature infants. Jaundice is recognized when a baby’s skin and whites of their eyes appear yellow. Babies develop this condition when they are unable to get rid of old red blood cells while replacing them with new ones. When the red blood cells break down, a substance called bilirubin is produced. Jaundice results when too much bilirubin accumulates in the body. This is what causes the yellow shading of the skin. In most cases, jaundice is harmless and easily treated.
To identify jaundice, it is best to examine your baby under natural light. If you press on your baby’s skin under natural light and notice an underlying yellow tone (before the area turns pink again), jaundice may be present.
Contact your physician immediately if your baby develops the following warning signs of severe jaundice:
Your doctor may instruct you to treat jaundice by:
If you suspect your baby has jaundice, consult with your physician. A simple blood test will measure your baby’s bilirubin levels to determine whether or not jaundice is present. As always, call your physician if you have any other questions or concerns.