Baby a bit yellow

Jaundice or yellow color in the newborn baby is a picture characterized by the presence of a yellowish color in the newborn and that can be seen in the first days of life and under certain conditions. It happens almost in the middle of the term newborns, being even more frequent to see it in the preterm ones, although in these one must be more closely watched. It is more common in males and newborn baby yellow with a family history of jaundice.

Jaundice occurs as a result of increased blood bilirubin levels. This is because at birth there is a normal breakdown of red blood cells, the red blood cells that contain the bilirubin. In addition, the liver captures this bilirubin less efficiently in order to transform and eliminate it. That is why the numbers of bilirubin, a substance that produces the familiar yellowish color of the eyes and the skin, increase. The problem is that this bilirubin can be harmful to the brain of the newborn under certain conditions.

In severe and uncontrolled cases, brain damage, called kernicterus, can be caused by the passage of bilirubin into the brain, since the membrane that protects it precisely from this and other substances are still immature. If this picture is present, the newborn baby may have severe involvement, with strange movements and even convulsions, which can degenerate into brain damage. It is a very rare picture but one that must always be prevented.

In mild cases the treatment is based on a series of very simple recommendations, such as the newborn baby yellow exposure to sunlight. The effectiveness of this measure has been discussed but if it is recommended, it is important to take care that the sunlight is not too direct or that it puts the newborn baby at risk of dehydration, especially in summer. The use of indirect and intermittent sunlight is recommended.

It is also not proven that giving more water to the newborn baby yellow helps control the numbers of bilirubin. In any case it is not a bad measure if the child is going to be more exposed to the sun, to avoid the risk of dehydration, but always with moderate amounts and without forcing the newborn baby. The pediatrician should be consulted if these actions are to be carried out and how to do them, never to do them on their own.

In moderate cases, at greater risk, the pediatrician will closely monitor the newborn baby very closely, to assess whether it can continue to be controlled on an outpatient basis or requires admission. Severe cases are subsidiary to admission to the hospital for treatment, although this is rare. In these cases the treatment is performed with phototherapy with special lamps and sometimes through exchange transfusion, a technique that consists of extracting part of the child’s blood to replace it with blood from the blood bank, in order to lower the numbers of bilirubin.

Jaundice produced by breastfeeding has a more controversial treatment, as it might be recommended to discontinue breastfeeding, at least temporarily. But this is only recommended in severe cases, so that most can continue to breastfeed. In any case this decision should always be consulted with a health professional.

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