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Old 09-27-2012, 12:39 PM   #1
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Breast milk jaundice?

Does anyone know much about breastmilk jaundice?

DD was 9 days old yesterday; in the morning she opened her eyes and the whites were yellow. I took her to the ped, they took a blood test and her bilirubin level was 16. They told me to bring her back in today; it is 14.9 today.

Here's the thing--when I looked up jaundice, I found info about breastmilk jaundice, which basically says that some breastfed babies get jaundiced at about a week old and it can last for several weeks, but there is nothing you can really do about it. She eats pretty well, has plenty of wet and poopy diapers. She is a very sleepy baby though, I do have to wake her up to eat every 2-3 hours.

They want me to take her in again tomorrow to get retested; and I suspect that if this continues they will ask me to bring her in every day to be checked (which could last for weeks--this is what the lab person told me she sees).

I really like the ped, he's generally not the alarmist type, so I don't want to act like I know more than he does or anything.

Does anyone have any experience with this? I don't want to ignore something important, but I also don't want to do all this testing if it's unnecessary.

Is there a way to tell the difference between regular newborn jaundice and breastmilk jaundice?

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Old 09-27-2012, 04:29 PM   #2
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Re: Breast milk jaundice?

My little guy's billi level was at 10.5 when we left the hospital. They had me come back the next day and he jumped to 16 overnight. =( Because his levels jumped they put him on a billi bed, and we did go back EVERY day until his levels were below 10. He also had to stay on the billibed for 5 days. You probably will have to get a billi check every day until his levels go down enough, but as long as the poopy diapers and wet diapers continue, you should be fine. Put her in a sunny window in the meantime. =)
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:45 PM   #3
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Breastmilk jaundice is not dangerous. It will go away. Put LO in window in sun naked 20 minutes 3 times a day. Nurse lots and usually by 6 weeks it is gone. It is not harmful at all and very different from the jaundice babies get within the first 24-48 hours that can be dangerous. Good luck!
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Old 09-27-2012, 08:56 PM   #4
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Re: Breast milk jaundice?

He levels will likely continue to go down at this point, and they are not dangerously high, so I wouldn't continue testing. We left the hospital day 4 at 14.5 and she was never tested again. A differen doc may have tested daily, but that's really overkill
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Old 09-28-2012, 10:57 AM   #5
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Re: Breast milk jaundice?

I asked the ped about the breast milk jaundice; he says it is too early to be breatsmilk jaundice and her levels were too high to stop testing...

We'll take her in today, hopefully if the levels keep going down we can stop testing.
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Old 09-28-2012, 11:10 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alaskamum
I asked the ped about the breast milk jaundice; he says it is too early to be breatsmilk jaundice and her levels were too high to stop testing...

We'll take her in today, hopefully if the levels keep going down we can stop testing.
It is exactly the time for breastmilk jaundice. I'm sorry but the dr is wrong. whatever you do, just nurse tons and keep LO in the sun. The sunlight breaks down the bilirubin just like bililights at the hospital. I promise after 20 minutes in sunlight(through a window) baby will be less yellow. Good luck with the testing. Hope it all works out.
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Old 09-28-2012, 11:19 AM   #7
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Re: Breast milk jaundice?

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Originally Posted by eliz7 View Post
It is exactly the time for breastmilk jaundice. I'm sorry but the dr is wrong. whatever you do, just nurse tons and keep LO in the sun. The sunlight breaks down the bilirubin just like bililights at the hospital. I promise after 20 minutes in sunlight(through a window) baby will be less yellow. Good luck with the testing. Hope it all works out.

I'm keeping her in the window as much as possible, it's too chilly here to take her outside without clothes on. Unfortunately we only get direct sun through the windows from about 8:45 to 10:30 am. We got in a good hour this morning though.

I think the dr might be wrong too, but do you have any suggestions on the proper way to handle it without ticking off an otherwise good doctor? I really trust him on everything else, but not as much on breastfeeding stuff.
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Old 09-28-2012, 11:50 AM   #8
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Even indirect sunlight works. If you like the dr and he feels really strongly about testing I don't see a big deal with the testing. I never did it and all of mine had breastmilk jaundice, but really besides the pain of the stick it's not going to damage your LO. If he suggests formula or limiting bfing than I would refuse that advice. He's probably being overly cautious with the tests and not clinically familiar with breastmilk jaundice.
My ydd had it until 6-8 weeks but my first 3 were fine about 2-3 weeks. The window of normal is pretty wide and if it's breastmilk jaundice it tends not to go away in a couple of days and I would assume the numbers will not have gone down much by now. If he is REALLY concerned request a script for a bili blanket for use at home. Good luck!
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Old 09-28-2012, 12:17 PM   #9
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Re: Breast milk jaundice?

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Originally Posted by eliz7 View Post
Even indirect sunlight works. If you like the dr and he feels really strongly about testing I don't see a big deal with the testing. I never did it and all of mine had breastmilk jaundice, but really besides the pain of the stick it's not going to damage your LO. If he suggests formula or limiting bfing than I would refuse that advice. He's probably being overly cautious with the tests and not clinically familiar with breastmilk jaundice.
My ydd had it until 6-8 weeks but my first 3 were fine about 2-3 weeks. The window of normal is pretty wide and if it's breastmilk jaundice it tends not to go away in a couple of days and I would assume the numbers will not have gone down much by now. If he is REALLY concerned request a script for a bili blanket for use at home. Good luck!
Thanks for all your help!

It's possible that when he said "too early to call it breastmilk jaundice" that he meant waiting to see if/how the numbers dropped (instead of the baby being too young).

So if I understand correctly, if it is breastmilk jaundice the numbers will not drop quickly, if it is regular jaundice they would drop more quickly?
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Old 09-28-2012, 12:42 PM   #10
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Re: Breast milk jaundice?

I have been through jaundice 3 times before. Getting plenty of sun (indirect sunlight near a window) and getting baby to poo and pee as often as possible will help clear the bilirubin out of system. Look up reflexology and massage baby's feet along the path of the large intestine and colon. And also massage the liver point.
I was told it was breastmilk jaundice with my first and I am O+ bloodtype which is the most common for bm jaundice. but who knows? took a couple of weeks to get better, then she was fine. Your numbers going down so I don't think you should have to get more than one more stick, if that.
Don't worry! It'll get better soon.
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