A healthy baby has a yellowish skin tone due to the fact that by the time of birth his liver did not have time to develop properly. Physiological jaundice (so called this condition) occurs on the 3-4th day after birth in almost all children.
Usually, the skin of the little one returns to pink color after about 10 days.
The “culprit” of this situation is the bilirubin pigment. It is formed in the liver when old or damaged blood cells – red blood cells – are destroyed. The liver must “utilize” bilirubin and be removed from the body along with bile, but in newborns it does not always cope with this task as it should.
Because of this, the pigment accumulates in the blood and stains the skin in a yellowish color.
All children with jaundice take a blood test for bilirubin and by its level they determine what led to this condition: the natural “immaturity” of the liver or other problems. If there is a lot of bilirubin, it means that there are serious disorders in the liver.
In this case, doctors are not talking about physiological, but about pathological jaundice, which will necessarily require treatment.
It happens that jaundice occurs in newborn babies as a reaction to mother’s milk: this happens when it is too fat. The fact is that fats interfere with the production of enzymes in the child’s liver, and she cannot cope with bilirubin.
The causes of “serious” jaundice can be very different. Often lead to liver disease, and sometimes affects the appearance of problems in the child. mother: for example, her undertreated infections (herpes, cytomegalovirus, etc.), which worsen the baby’s liver.
Sometimes jaundice occurs due to the incompatibility of the blood of the mother and child in the Rh factor or group, due to an excess or lack of some mother’s hormones (such as insulin in diabetes mellitus).
The first 10 days after the birth of the baby, the mother should not worry about his yellowish skin, and the parents of premature babies – and all two weeks. It is necessary to consult a doctor if jaundice does not pass longer than the specified time – then, in order to establish the causes of the disease and prescribe a small treatment, the doctor will send him for an examination.
If the baby’s bilirubin level is within the normal range, he will not need treatment. The doctor may advise the mother to just water the crumb more often in order to “wash out” bilirubin from the intestines as soon as possible, preventing it from accumulating.
If jaundice is delayed and the child’s condition indicates serious difficulties, doctors will try to eliminate the cause that led to this problem – for example, an infection or a lack of hormones.