For first time parent, newborn jaundice can be scary and they tend to start panic when the baby's skin and eyes are starting to turn yellowish. Let's have a brief understanding about the newborn jaundice before we go into the main point of this topic.
What is newborn jaundice?
Jaundice is a common and usually harmless condition that occurs when your baby has a high level of bilirubin, an orange-yellow substance produced during the normal breakdown of red blood cells. Bilirubin levels are naturally highest around 5 to 7 days after birth, so it's common for jaundice to occur within 2 to 4 days of birth. It is usually easy to spot because your baby's skin and white of the eyes will likely be colored yellow.
What cause newborn jaundice?
When the baby is growing in the mother's womb, the placenta removes bilirubin from the baby's body. The placenta is the organ that grows during pregnancy to feed the baby. After birth, the baby begins breathing and the excess red blood cells the baby had while in the uterus are broken down which in turn generates a high level of bilirubin. The immature baby's liver unable to optimally excrete the relatively high load of bilirubin cause the newborns to have higher levels of bilirubin, which we called it as newborn jaundice.
5 Natural Ways to Treat Newborn Jaundice
I am a first time mother, my daughter started to have jaundice on the third day after birth and only recovered during the 11th day. I felt worry and panic during the jaundice period, and I believed all the first time parent will feel the same. There are many traditional ways of treating the jaundice, mostly according to the experience from the elderly. However, these methods are very subjective to every baby as it seems to be effective to baby A but not baby B. So, I will share some natural ways to treat newborn jaundice, and these methods might be useful for breastfeeding mummy.
1. Feed the baby frequently
Feeding your baby often is one of the best way to eliminate jaundice. This can help the baby to kick start the liver and process the excess bilirubin in their body. Just do your best to breastfeed your baby frequently as possible, of course without forcing baby to eat! If you're bottle feeding, try to make sure baby is getting enough formula.
This is the most common way to remove jaundice and you should have heard it before. The blue light spectrum found naturally in sunlight helps to breakdown excess bilirubin and help the body to excrete it.
Place your glider or chair near window so the baby gets some natural light while feeding, burping or just laying on you. Try to avoid the sunlight after 12pm, the best timing is 8am to 10am.
3. Take Vitamin D
A study found that babies with jaundice had significantly lower levels of vitamin D compared to the non-jaundiced group. If you are breastfeeding mum, you can consider adding vitamin D to your diet, either through foods you eat or through a supplement. As any vitamins you take will pass to your baby through your milk. The vitamin D is said to boost their liver and help to get rid of bilirubin.
4. Take Probiotic
A meta-analysis has shown that probiotic supplementation in newborns can significantly reduce bilirubin and improve jaundice symptoms. For breastfeeding mummy, you can take the probiotic supplement and let your baby get some of it through your breastmilk.
5. Magnesium Intake
One of the study shows that pregnant women who took 250mg of magnesium daily during pregnancy has a 20% reduction of excess bilirubin in their newborn babies. You can try to take magnesium supplement or adding magnesium-rich foods to your diet if you're pregnant or breastfeeding.
You can start to monitor your baby and bring him/her to pediatrician once you find any sign of jaundice. It is always good to keep track of the jaundice level and try to reduce it through all these natural remedies. Most of the babies will naturally get rid of the extra billirubin on their own. However, if this is not the case, please consult pediatrician and get professional advice from the them. Although the yellow tint can be worrying for all the first time parents, but your baby is just as adorable and will soon be yellow free!
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