Infant Jaundice | Treatment


How is jaundice treated?

Mild jaundice usually goes away on its own in 2-3 weeks.

For more serious cases of jaundice, your baby might need treatment at the hospital. If an underlying condition is causing the jaundice, your doctor will treat the underlying condition. Most babies who need treatment for jaundice get light therapy (also called phototherapy).

During phototherapy, your baby is placed under special lights or on a special light-producing blanket. The light helps your baby’s body get rid of the excess bilirubin. Phototherapy usually lasts for 1 or 2 days.

If phototherapy doesn’t work and your baby's bilirubin level continues to rise, your baby might need an exchange transfusion. In this treatment, some of your baby's blood is taken out, diluted, and then transferred back into your baby.

How long will my baby have jaundice?

Jaundice lasts for a different time in different babies. Often, a baby’s bilirubin level goes up for the first 3 to 4 days and then slowly goes back down. A baby who is breastfed may have mild jaundice for a longer time than a baby who is formula-fed.


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