Infant Jaundice | Symptoms

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How can I tell if my baby has jaundice?

The only way to tell if your baby has jaundice is to look for color changes in your baby's skin, the whites of your baby's eyes, and the pink skin inside your baby's mouth. If these areas turn yellowish, you may want to see your baby's doctor. If your baby has pale skin, it should look white when you gently press it with your fingertips. If the skin looks yellow when you press on it, your baby may have jaundice. If your baby has darker skin, it may be harder to check the skin, but you should still be able to tell by your baby's eyes and inside of your baby's mouth. If you see signs of jaundice in your baby, contact your doctor right away.

Artificial light, especially fluorescent lights, can sometimes fool your eyes into seeing a yellow color that is not really there. So try to check your baby in natural daylight in a sunny room.

Infant jaundice usually appears between 3 and 7 days after birth. As the amount of bilirubin in the blood builds up, your baby's body will get more yellow. As the bilirubin level rises, the yellow color can move from your baby's head down to the chest and even down to the toes. These are signs that your baby has more severe jaundice, and you should call your doctor right away.

Source

Hyperbilirubinemia in the Term Newborn by ML Porter, CPT, MC, USA, and BL Dennis, MAJ, MC, USA (American Family Physician February 15, 2002, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20020215/599.html)

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

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

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