Jaundice is common in infants and can be scary condition, especially to first time mothers. However, jaundice is rarely serious if detected and treated early. Jaundice has symptoms such as yellowing of the skin, with the yellowing first occurring from the upper body progressing downwards. In a normal full-term baby, the illness is seen by the third day. In a pre-term, it may occur later and last longer. Jaundice is caused when too much bilirubin is deposited in blood.
To help curb jaundice, it is important that the mother feeds the baby as often as possible. Frequent breastfeeding, or bottle feeding for formula fed babies helps increase bowel movements which carry bilirubin out of the body faster. The feedings should take place every two hours, and not the 3-4 hours several hospitals recommend.
As a home remedy, activated charcoal also helps. 2-3 teaspoons of the charcoal stirred into a little water is helpful. The remedy can be used on an infant from 4 hours of age, every two hours. The remedy can be given until the level of bilirubin drops.
Lastly, the mother should bask the infant. The sunlight should not be let into the baby’s bare eyes, but should fall on bare skin as much as possible. The levels of sunlight also, should not be so harsh that they cause sunburns. Basking should be done at around eight in the morning, or four in the evening.
- Jaundice can be cured in hospital through phototherapy.
- Exposing the baby to sunlight without ensuring it is full will not help reduce jaundice.
- If not treated early, jaundice could lead to a condition that destroys the developing brain of the infant.