Jaundice and Bilirubin

Causes of Jaundice in Newborns

Physiological Jaundice (50% of newborns)

Breastfeeding or Malnutrition Jaundice (5 to 10% of newborns)

Breastmilk Jaundice (10% of newborns)

Rh and ABO Blood Group Incompatibility (Serious, but Rare)

Liver Disease (Serious, but Rare)

When to Call for Jaundiced Newborn

Call 911 Now

  • Can't wake up
  • Not moving or very weak
  • You think your child has a life-threatening emergency

Call Doctor Now or Go to ER

  • Age under 1 month old and looks or acts abnormal in any way
  • Feeding poorly (such as poor suck, does not finish)
  • Hard to wake up
  • Dehydration suspected. No urine in over 8 hours, dark urine, very dry mouth and no tears.
  • Fever. Caution: Do NOT give your baby any fever medicine before being seen.
  • Low temperature below 96.8° F (36.0° C) rectally that doesn't respond to warming
  • Jaundice began during the first 24 hours of life
  • Skin looks deep yellow or orange
  • Jaundice has reached the legs
  • Jaundice worse than when last seen
  • You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • High-risk baby for severe jaundice. Risk factors are: premature baby born at 36 weeks or less, ABO or Rh blood group problem, sib needed bili-lights, bleeding in the scalp, Asian race, breastfeeding problems.
  • Whites of the eyes (sclera) turn yellow
  • You are worried about the amount of jaundice
  • You are worried your baby is not getting enough breastmilk
  • Yellow, seedy stools are less than 3 per day. Exception: breastfed and before 5 days of life.
  • Day 2-4 of life and no stool in over 24 hours and breastfed
  • Wet diapers are less than 6 per day. Exception: 3 wet diapers per day can be normal before 5 days of life if breastfed.
  • 4 or more days old and has not been checked since discharge
  • You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • Color gets deeper yellow after 7 days old
  • Jaundice is not gone after 14 days of age
  • Jaundice began or comes back after 7 days of age
  • Stools are white, pale yellow or gray
  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Mild jaundice of newborn

Call 911 Now

Call Doctor Now or Go to ER

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

Call Doctor During Office Hours

Self Care at Home


Care Advice for Mild Jaundice

  1. What You Should Know About Newborn Jaundice:
  2. Bottle Feed More Often:
  3. Breastfeed More Often:
  4. Infrequent Stools Means Your Baby Needs More Milk:
  5. What to Expect:
  6. Judging Jaundice:
  7. Call Your Doctor If:

And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.


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