Table of contents:
- Risk Factors and Causes of Yellow Babies that Mothers Need to Know
- Proper Handling For Yellow Babies
Baby jaundice within a few days after birth is a condition that often occurs and is generally harmless. However, sometimes jaundice can also be caused by a serious condition that needs to be treated by a doctor immediately
Jaundice or jaundice generally affects newborns who are about 1 week old. This condition can be recognized by the appearance of a number of symptoms, including yellowing of the skin and eyes, darker urine color, and slightly whiter and paler stools.
If it doesn't cause other complaints, this condition is probably not a dangerous thing. However, if a jaundiced baby appears with other complaints, such as the baby looks very weak or dehydrated, doesn't want to breastfeed, has seizures, or appears in the first 24 hours after the baby is born, then this condition needs to be watched out for.
Risk Factors and Causes of Yellow Babies that Mothers Need to Know
Baby jaundice is the result of high levels of bilirubin in the baby's blood. Bilirubin is a yellow substance that the body produces when red blood cells break down.
Basically, babies' bodies produce more bilirubin than adults. However, because the baby's liver which is in charge of removing bilirubin has not been able to work fully developed, then a lot of bilirubin will accumulate in the body and eventually cause symptoms of jaundice.
This condition generally resolves on its own as the baby's liver function develops in removing bilirubin. However, under certain conditions, yellow babies can also be a sign of a he alth problem.
Usually, this yellow baby condition that should be watched out for appears sooner (when the baby is between 1 – 3 days old) or later (when he is more than 2 weeks old).
Here are some conditions that can cause jaundice in babies:
- Disorders of the liver or bile ducts, such as biliary atresia, cystic fibrosis, or hepatitis.
- Infectious diseases, such as sepsis, meningitis, and viral infections.
- Disorders of the baby's red blood cells, such as hemolytic anemia, sickle cell anemia, and rhesus incompatibility.
- Congenital Hypothyroidism.
- Oxygen deficiency or hypoxia.
- Enzyme deficiency, for example in G6PD disease.
- Genetic disorders.
- Side effects of certain drugs.
In addition, babies will also be more at risk of experiencing jaundice if:
- Born prematurely or born before 37 weeks of gestation.
- Born to a mother with gestational diabetes.
- Not getting enough breast milk or formula (for babies who are not breastfed).
- There is an injury or bruising to the baby, for example during a long or difficult delivery.
Proper Handling For Yellow Babies
In most cases, baby jaundice is not dangerous and can get better on its own within 1-2 weeks. During this time, you only need to give breast milk or formula more often than usual (8-12 times a day).
However, if the jaundice does not improve after 2 weeks or is caused by certain dangerous medical conditions, the baby will need to be treated by a doctor and be hospitalized.
To deal with the condition of a jaundiced baby, doctors can use several treatment methods such as:
Phototherapy is a jaundice treatment method that utilizes special light exposure to destroy the bilirubin in the baby's body so that it is easily excreted through urine or feces.
Phototherapy is very effective for treating jaundiced babies with relatively mild side effects, such as rash or diarrhea. When undergoing phototherapy, the baby will be given eye protection so that the phototherapy rays do not damage the baby's eyes.
Injection of immunoglobulin (IVIG)
This treatment is given if the jaundice suffered by the baby is caused by a different blood group between the baby and the mother. Babies who have different blood types can carry certain antibodies from the mother and increase the production of bilirubin.
The purpose of giving an injection of immunoglobulin is to reduce the antibodies that cause high levels of bilirubin.
If the two methods above are not effective in treating jaundice, a blood transfusion may be performed.
This method is done by taking the baby's blood, then replacing it with suitable blood from a donor or blood bank. This procedure usually lasts for several hours and during that time, the baby's condition will continue to be monitored by doctors and nurses at the hospital.
If the jaundice is harmless and can be treated at home, the doctor may suggest that the baby is breastfed more often and dried in the morning sun.
Although most cases of jaundice are harmless, mothers are still advised to take their little ones to the pediatrician if they show symptoms of jaundice. This is because the late handling of jaundice can cause the baby to experience serious complications, such as brain damage due to the buildup of bilirubin (kernicterus), cerebral palsy, and hearing loss.