Font Size

Newborn Jaundice (cont.)

Newborn Jaundice Home Remedies

  • Sunlight helps to break down indicrect bilirubin so that a baby's liver can process it more easily.
    • Place the child in a well-lit window for 10 minutes twice a day is often all that is needed to help cure mild jaundice. Never place an infant in direct sunlight.
  • If the bilirubin level is too high, the child may need to be placed under a special type of light. This treatment is called phototherapy.
    • Sometimes, such lights can be set up at your home with careful monitoring.
    • The doctor (with the parent's help) will decide whether to begin a child on phototherapy.
  • If an infant's bilirubin levels are very high or if the child appears ill, the baby will most likely be admitted to the hospital for treatment.

Newborn Jaundice Treatment

  • Significant jaundice is often treated with phototherapy. This involves placing the baby on a warmer beneath special lights.
    • These lights are able to penetrate a baby's skin and affect the bilirubin within the child. The light changes bilirubin into lumirubin, which is easily handled by the baby's body.
    • This treatment may seem much like a visit to a local tanning booth. Special goggles or a shade is placed over the baby's eyes to shield them from the lights.
  • Two factors help decide whether or not to start phototherapy: the age of the child and the level of bilirubin.
    • Younger children with higher bilirubin levels will more often require treatment.
    • The decision to begin phototherapy depends on the opinion of your pediatrician and on your comfort level.
  • If standard phototherapy doesn't work to reduce a baby's bilirubin level, the doctor may try other treatments. For example, the baby may be placed on a fiber optic blanket and an additional bank of lights may be added.
  • If these treatments don't work, babies most often have a serious condition that is causing their jaundice. Physiologic jaundice (the most common form) almost never requires treatment beyond phototherapy.
  • When all other treatments have failed to reduce the bilirubin level enough, the last resort is an exchange transfusion. In this treatment, the baby's blood is exchanged with donated blood. This is a very specialized procedure and is done only in facilities capable of caring for critically ill children.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/18/2016
Medical Editor:

Must Read Articles Related to Newborn Jaundice

Acetaminophen Poisoning  (Tylenol)
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) Poisoning Acetaminophen (Tylenol) poisoning is caused primarily by damage to the liver. Symptoms of acetaminophen (Tylenol) poisoning include nausea, vomiting, abdominal ...learn more >>
Anatomy of the Digestive System
Anatomy of the Digestive System Digestion is the process in which food is broken into smaller pieces so the body can use them to build and nourish cells and provide energy. The learn more >>
CT Scan (CAT Scan, Computerized Axial Tomography)
CT Scan Computerized tomography scans (CT scans) are an important diagnostic tool for a variety of medical conditions. The process uses X-rays and a computer to produce...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Newborn Jaundice:

Newborns Jaundice - Treatment

What was the treatment for your child's jaundice?

Newborn Jaundice - Symptoms

What were the symptoms of your newborn's jaundice?

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Jaundice, Neonatal »

Jaundice is the most common condition that requires medical attention in newborns.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary