Dealing with jaundice in California newborns

When a baby is born, he or she may have yellowish skin or a yellow color in the whites of the eyes. This happens when the baby’s blood has a higher than normal level of a substance called bilirubin. The yellowing is referred to as jaundice, and it is rarely harmful in a newborn baby. Jaundice may appear right at birth or during the first week or two of the baby’s life.

There are two main types of jaundice in babies. Breastfeeding jaundice has to do with a baby’s ability to nurse if it is breastfed. In some cases, a baby is not able to nurse well, or the mother’s milk is slow to come in. This type of jaundice usually shows during the first week of the baby’s life. Another type of jaundice has to do with how the breast milk reacts with the breakdown of bilirubin. Breast milk jaundice may occur after the first week of the baby’s life — usually during weeks two to three — but persist at low levels for about a month or more.

In most cases, jaundice goes away on its own and does not need treatment. In the event that jaundice is severe, a baby may be exposed to a blue light to help the body get rid of extra bilirubin in the blood. A baby may also be fed up to 12 times a day to promote good digestion, which may flush out extra bilirubin from the body.

If a mother or baby is injured during labor, it may be possible to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. In court or through a settlement, the doctor who performed the delivery or the hospital where the baby was delivered may be held financially responsible for the injury. Any compensation awarded may pay for medical bills, long-term care and any other costs related to injuries suffered during the delivery.

Source: Medline Plus, “Newborn jaundice“, December 17, 2014

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