Infant Jaundice | Overview


What is jaundice?

Infant jaundice (say: "john-diss") is when a baby’s skin, eyes, and mouth turn a yellow color. Jaundice is common in the first few days of a baby's life. The yellow color is caused by bilirubin.

Bilirubin is made when the body breaks down old red blood cells. This is a normal process that happens all through life. Usually, the liver filters bilirubin from the bloodstream, but an infant’s liver might not yet be developed enough to filter out the bilirubin. If bilirubin builds up in your baby's body, it can give your baby jaundice.

Jaundice is common in babies and is usually not serious.


Hyperbilirubinemia in the Term Newborn by ML Porter, CPT, MC, USA, and BL Dennis, MAJ, MC, USA (American Family Physician February 15, 2002,

Written by editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 04/14
Created: 04/03