3 myths about jaundice in newborn

By Elisa Chia   — February 17, 2017
  • Myth 1: Give Baby a sunbath.
    1 / 4 Myth 1: Give Baby a sunbath.

    This is not recommended as she can become dehydrated which, in turn, worsens jaundice, says Dr Chiou Fang Kuan, associate consultant at Gastroenterology Service from the department of paediatrics at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH).

    Placing your baby in the sun may also cause sunburns, which are painful, he adds. 

    Related: 7 things you should know about colds and flu in babies 

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  • Myth 2: Bathe Baby in TCM herbs.
    2 / 4 Myth 2: Bathe Baby in TCM herbs.

    There is no medical evidence to support the use of herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine, in your baby’s jaundice treatment, says Dr Chiou. 

    Related: Why your baby frequently vomits: what you should do 

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  • Myth 3: Feed Baby some water to “flush out” the jaundice and stop breastfeeding.
    3 / 4 Myth 3: Feed Baby some water to “flush out” the jaundice and stop breastfeeding.

    The American Academy of Paediatrics advises against supplementing breastfed infants who are not dehydrated with water or sugar water.

    Instead, nurse at least eight to 12 times a day for the first few days. 

    Yet, more often than not, mums are wrongly advised to stop breastfeeding in these situations, says Betty Lee, a lactation consultant in private practice.

    The lack of knowledge and awareness can add stress to those who are struggling to nurse. 

    “As long as the baby is gaining weight and is active,  jaundice is not dangerous. Rarely do mums need to stop breastfeeding even for a short time,” she says.

    Related: Why your brestfed baby does not need water 

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  • What you should know
    4 / 4 What you should know

    Jaundice affects about three in five full-term babies, and as many as four in five preemies, in the first three to five days of their lives, shares Dr Chiou.

    Known as physiologic jaundice, this usually lasts only about a week. 

    Lactation consultant Betty explains this is because the newborn’s liver is not mature enough to get rid of excess bilirubin from the body. 

    The jaundice can worsen if Baby is not getting enough milk during this time, she says.

    In this instance, making sure that your newborn stays hydrated by nursing her frequently will help bring the level down, Betty adds.

    For most babies, this form of jaundice normally tapers off within a week or two.

    Related: 7 things you should know about fever in babies 

    (Photo: 123RF.com)

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