You may notice the yellowing of the eyes and the skin in the newborn babies. What does this represent? And how to help your baby to get rid of this abnormal condition? Will learn more about this condition and remedies in this article.
The condition of yellowing eyes and skin is referred to as jaundice. It is the most common harmless in both the children and adults.
This article discusses the causes and effects of jaundice in babies. It presents some remedies to get rid of Jaundice in babies.
What Is Jaundice In Babies?
This is a liver related condition which causes the discoloration of the skin, whites of the eye, and mucus membrane due to the high levels of bilirubin. These areas usually turn yellow. When the babies are inside the womb they need additional red blood cells to mkmet the oxygen demands. These extra cells breakdown after the birth and produces a yellowish substance called bilirubin.
Bilirubin is a yellowish substance in the blood that occurs in the normal catabolic pathway. It breaks down the heme in the vertebrates. The catabolism is the most essential process which is the clearance of waste products that are produces due to breakdown of the aged or abnormal red blood cells.
It is most common condition in newborn babies. The medical term for jaundice in babies is neonatal jaundice.
Different Types Of Jaundice In Babies:
All the parents should be aware of the different types of jaundice in babies:
1. Pathologic Jaundice: It occurs 24-48 hours after the birth and it is the most serious condition. The bilirubin levels of your baby rises fast. This condition may lead to blood incompatability or liver disease. This condition requires immediate medical condition and blood transfusion is necessary. Breastfeeding can be continued during the treatment.
2. Physiologic Jaundice: It is a common disorder that affects the infants soon after the birth. It occurs when the excretion of bilirubin is reduced from the body. Pre term and low birth weight infants develop many other medical conditions due to the severity of this condition. It usually appears 2-5 days after the birth and disappears after 10-12 days.
3. Breastmilk Jaundice: It is a quite rare form of jaundice. It usually appears 2-5 days after the birth. It occurs due to the prolonged enterohepatic circulation of the bilirubin.
4. The best way to treat this jaundice is to interrupt the breastfeeding for 24 hours. Babies who are diagnosed with this type of jaundice are advised to have the donor’s breastmilk or formula until the jaundice resolves.
5. Suboptimal Intake jaundice: This is caused by the lack of frequent of inadequate breastfeeding. It is the result of low calorie intake. The biulirubin levels increase in your baby’s blood when the low calories combines with the limitations in the bilirubin metabolism and transport. The key to cure this kind of jaundice is to feed your baby with the required amounts of calories.
What Causes Jaundice In Babies?
Here are a few reasons for Jaundice in babies:
Premature Babies: Babies who are born before the term.i.e., before 37 weeks of gestation are called premature babies. Jaundice is more common in the premature babies.
Lack of breastmilk: Some mothers may not get the sufficient milk required for their baby. In some other cases, baby may have the hard time to drink the milk.
Blood incompatibility: Some babies may have the blood type that is not compatible with the type of their mother. Under this condition, babies develop build up of antibodies that destroy the red blood cells and results in the rises of bilirubin levels.
Other conditions: Other condition may include liver problems, infections, enzyme deficiency, and abnormality in baby’s red blood cells.
If the mother has the diabetes, then the baby is at the risk of being affected by Jaundice.
Sometimes babies may swallow the blood during the birth, this swallowed blood may breakdown in the intestine producing bilirubin.
How To Diagnose Jaundice In Babies:
Here are a few procedures for recognizing Jaundice in babies:
● As the bilirubin levels rise, jaundice moves from the head to arms, trunk, and finally the legs. In the extreme conditions of Jaundice, you may notice the yellow skin over you baby’s knees, over the palms of hands. Press your finger against your baby’s skin, the normal skin will return to the normal color once released and the Jaundiced skin will remain yellow.
● Medical practitioners recommend some blood tests to identify the bilirubin levels. Some others use a medical device to measure the subcutaneous bilirubin. These days, this tool is being widely used in the newborn nurseries and the outpatient clinics, offices, and emergency departments.
● Recently, some smartphone apps have been used in the hospitals to detect newborn jaundice in minutes.
Sings & Symptoms Of Jaundice In Babies :
The most common sign of jaundice is the turning of the skin yellow. This usually starts at the head and spreads to the body. You may notice the signs of jaundice usually between the second and the fourth day after the birth. Here are a few other symptoms of jaundice in babies:
● Pale stools
● Poor sucking or feeding
● Dark urine in contrast to the scenario that the newborn babies should have colorless urine.
If the jaundice is severe, the baby may experience the following symptoms:
● Yellow abdomen or limbs
● Low weight
● Poor feeding and the irritability
Long term Effects of Jaundice In Babies:
Here are a risks of Jaundice in babies:
● Studies suggest that IQ levels may decrease in the babies who have experienced severe Jaundice earlier.
● Extremely high levels of bilirubin may cause brain damage. This condition is regarded as the Criggler-Najjar Syndrome. Studies suggest that this syndrome promotes the buildup of unconjugated bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is removed from the body when it is converted into nontoxic unconjugated bilirubin in the liver through a chemical reaction.
Home Remedies for Jaundice in Babies:
Here are a few natural ways to help Jaundice in babies.
Sunlight is the more effective remedy that have been used from the ancient times to treat jaundice in babies. Sunlight can breakdown the indirect bilirubin making it easier for the liver to process it.
Place your baby near the window where you get proper sunlight. Do this for twice a day that helps to recover quickly from the Jaundice. Never place your baby directly under the sun. Make sure that your baby receives slanting sun rays before 8 in the morning.
2. Breastfeed your baby regularly:
If your newborn has jaundice feed regularly. Frequent breastfeeding will help in eliminating the excessive bilirubin present in the bloodstreams through stools and urine. Babies with Jaundice sleep alot. Wake up your baby and feed. If you do not breastfeed your baby give two ounces of formula milk at each feed.
3. Use Supplements:
Babies with jaundice required to be fed more in comparison with the healthy babies. If your breastmilk is not enough for your baby, offer the infant formula milk.
4. Spinach and Carrot Juice:
Carrot and Spinach are rich in iron and help in increasing the detoxification power of the liver.
Finely chop carrot and spinach. Squeeze the juice out of them and give it to your baby after consulting your doctor.
5. Sugarcane Juice:
Sugarcane strengthens the liver and it is the recommended remedy for the jaundice. Studies suggest that it is widely used for the treatment of jaundice in India.
Give your older child a few teaspoons of sugarcane juice 3-4 times a day. Extract the juice yourself at the home and avoid to get it from the street vendor.
6. Tomato Juice:
Tomatoes are the good source of lycopene. Eating a tomato early in the morning helps in curing the liver related issues.
As the newborns are not recommended to consume tomato juice, breastfeed mothers should drink it. The nutrients of the tomato reach your baby through breast milk and make them feel better.
Note : Some babies may develop gas due to tomatoes. Notice any changes immediately and consult your pediatrician.
7. Wheatgrass Juice:
The nutrients present in the wheatgrass help in flushing out the impurities and toxins stored in the body. Chlorophyll present in the wheatgrass promotes the healthy liver function.
8. Barley Seed Flour:
Barley is rich in vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial plant compounds.
Add 2 tablespoons of barley to cup of water and boil it on the low flame until it becomes thick. Give it to your baby more frequently to recover easily from Jaundice. It is not recommended for the babies below 2 years.
Studies suggest that pregnant women who had 250 mg of magnesium every day for 6 weeks, when they are pregnant noticed the drop of 20.6% excess bilirubin.
Add magnesium rich foods like Green leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, vegetables, and seeds when you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
10. Ziziphus Jujube:
One study suggested that Ziziphus Jujube plays a prominent role to reinforce the liver functioning and the treatment of Jaundice.
Give 1 ml of this fruit extract to your newborn baby till the Jaundice is recovered completely. It flushes out the excess bilirubin content in the blood. Consult your pediatrician before giving it to your baby.
11. Vitamin D:
Studies suggest that Babies with Jaundice are know to have low levels of Vitamin D compared to a healthy child.
Mothers should supplement their breastfed babies with 6400 IU of Vitamin D which will pass into the milk and and boost the baby’s levels.
A study found that probiotic supplementation in the newborns will help to reduce the symptoms of Jaundice.
Probiotics decreases the bilirubin levels and helps the body to flush out the excess bilirubin.
13. Bili Blanket:
It is the portable phototherapy device for the treatment of Jaundice in babies. It is the most convenient and inexpensive way of treating the Jaundice.
It is effective for treating mild range of Jaundice in your baby.
For the higher levels of bilirubin, your baby is placed under a special light. This type of treatment is called as Phototherapy.
These lights can also be set up at your home under the careful monitoring. The rays penetrate baby’s skin and fight with the bilirubin inside your baby’s blood. Special goggles are offer to your baby to shield their eyes from the affects of rays.
Treatment for Jaundice in Newborn Baby:
● The most commonly used treatment that the medical practitioners use is phototherapy. This treatment involves placing the baby under the warm and special lights. The doctors consider the levels of bilirubin before starting the phototherapy.
● If this phototherapy fail to reduce the levels of bilirubin, doctors may try other treatments like placing the baby on a fiber blanket with the additional bank of lights.
● The failure of these treatments may indicate that there is a serious underlying condition. The doctors lastly prefer the blood transfusion in which the baby’s blood is exchanged with donor’s blood. This has to be done in the facilities which are capable of caring critically ill children.
Risks of phototherapy:
Phototherapy is a most common method to treat Jaundice in babies. It does not offer any kind of complications in the majority of cases. But there are few risks that the parents should be aware of :
● Babies may get dark greyish discoloration to the skin, urine, and serum. This condition is referred to as bronze baby syndrome. No treatment is necessary for this syndrome, it usually disappears on its own.
● Some babies may develop blisters on their skin when exposed to the radiation from the phototherapy.
Few tips to be followed to maximize the effects of phototherapy and minimize the risks.
● Protect your baby’s eyes by using the protective eyewear.
● Phototherapy accompanied by massage reduces the bilirubin levels by increasing the frequency of bowel movements.
● Feed your baby before and after subjecting to the phototherapy. It is a source of comfort for your baby and contains antioxidants that helps them to fight against the health conditions.
When to see a doctor for Jaundice in babies?
The following symptoms indicate that the bilirubin levels are excess and your baby requires immediate medical attention.
● Your baby’s skin becomes more yellow.
● Your baby seems sick and finds it difficult to stay awake.
● Your baby is not feeding properly.
● You may encounter high pitched baby cries at times.
● If your baby finds any difficulty in breathing.
● Your baby may develop other conditions that may concern you.
In conclusion, mild jaundice is more common in the majority of the newborn babies which hardly require treatment. Help your child to get relief from the Jaundice with the help of home remedies after consulting your doctor. Any changes in the baby should be identified at the earlier stages to avoid further complications.