Jaundice in newborns occurs when the liver isn’t working as it should, causing the skin and eyes to turn yellow. While this condition is harmless in most cases, there are certain home remedies that can help treat it while you wait on the doctor to give you an actual diagnosis. Here are some of those home remedies that can help treat jaundice in newborns and at home until you can get to the doctor’s office with your baby.
Introducing the Problem: What is Jaundice?
Jaundice is a condition that causes a newborn’s skin and the whites of their eyes to have a yellowish tint. It can be caused by an excess of bilirubin, which is created as the body breaks down old red blood cells. In most cases, jaundice is harmless, but it can cause problems if left untreated. The best way to tell if your baby has jaundice is to take a look at their skin and eyes. If they have an orange tint to their skin and yellowish whites of their eyes, it’s likely they are suffering from jaundice. Below you’ll find some home remedies that may help with symptoms of jaundice
Why do Newborns get Jaundice?
The yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes is caused by elevated bilirubin levels. Bilirubin is a pigment released during the breakdown of red blood cells and it can be passed on to the newborn during pregnancy or when breast milk is not fully digested. It is also common for newborns to have jaundice if they are born before 37 weeks gestation or too small at birth.
If you are concerned that your baby has jaundice, it’s best to consult with your pediatrician who will check your baby’s bilirubin levels. If they are high, they might order an exchange transfusion which will remove the excess bilirubin from the body and reduce symptoms.
Signs that Your Newborn May Have Jaundice
Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes is usually a signs of jaundice in newborn. This condition happens when the baby’s liver isn’t fully developed, so it can’t process bilirubin, which is a yellowish-brown substance that comes from old red blood cells. The following are home tips to treat jaundice in newborns:
- Make sure your baby gets plenty of rest.
- Ensure that your baby eats well with frequent feedings.
- Check on your infant frequently to make sure they are comfortable and not too hot.
- Be aware of their mood; babies who have jaundice may be cranky and irritable because they’re uncomfortable.
- Take their temperature if you notice an increase in fever.
- If your newborn seems very lethargic or stops eating as much, call your pediatrician immediately.
Home Remedies for Jaundice
There are several home remedies that can be used to treat jaundice in newborns. Keep in mind that these will not work on every baby, but may help with some of the symptoms.
- The first thing you should do is make sure your baby is positioned so the light from a window or lamp shines on their face. The sunlight helps to clear bilirubin from their skin and eyes.
- Make sure you’re breastfeeding your baby if possible as this will help with the levels of bilirubin as well as provide them with important nutrients to promote healthy growth and development.
- You can also try feeding your baby fresh fruit or vegetables like green beans, peas, or carrots. These foods contain natural enzymes which help break down the fatty acids in the liver which release excess bilirubin.
- Foods like strawberries, papaya, and mango have natural chemicals which have been shown to reduce hyperbilirubinemia by as much as 80%.
- Warm bath: Run a warm bath for your baby. Once they’re settled into it pat dry gently then wrap them up in a towel until they stop dripping before putting clothes back on.
- Apply pressure: Placing gentle pressure over specific points along an infant’s head and neck has been known to relieve pain associated with jaundice due to its ability to stimulate certain nerve endings.
When to Seek Medical Attention?
If you are worried about the color of your newborn’s skin and want to know what this could mean, it is important to first make sure that he or she is not one of the few babies that have a birthmark. If the baby has a birthmark, then there is nothing to worry about and he or she will change colors soon. If your baby does not have a birthmark, then you may want to consider seeking medical attention for jaundice treatment as soon as possible. The symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the condition, but often times they include yellowing of the skin and eyes, dark urine, and pale stools. In some cases, jaundice can lead to brain damage if left untreated.