Bilirubin levels in the blood tend to peak when your baby is between three and seven days old. Therefore, it's important for your doctor to check your baby for jaundice during that time span.
When your baby is discharged from the hospital, your doctor or nurse will check to see whether your baby has jaundice. If your baby does have jaundice, your doctor will judge the likelihood of the jaundice being severe based on a number of factors:
- How much bilirubin is in the blood
- Whether your baby was born prematurely
- How well he or she is feeding
- How old your baby is
- Whether your baby has bruising from delivery
- Whether a brother or sister also had severe jaundice
Based on these factors, your doctor may recommend an earlier time for a follow-up visit.
When you arrive for your follow-up appointment, be prepared to answer the following questions that your doctor is likely to ask.
- How well is your baby feeding?
- Is your baby breast-fed or formula-fed?
- How often is he or she feeding?
- How often does your baby have a wet diaper?
- How often is there stool in the diaper?
- Does he or she wake up easily for feeding?
- Does your baby seem sick or weak?
- Have you noticed any changes in the color of your baby's skin or eyes?
- If your baby has jaundice, has the yellow color spread to parts of the body other than the face?
You may also prepare questions to ask your doctor at your follow-up appointment, including:
- Is the jaundice severe?
- What tests will my baby need?
- Do we need to begin treatment for jaundice?
- Will I need to readmit my baby to the hospital?
- When should I schedule a follow-up visit?
- Do you have any brochures about jaundice and proper feeding?
Don't hesitate to ask your doctor additional questions if you don't understand something during the appointment.
Apr. 14, 2011
- Jaundice. American Academy of Pediatrics. http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/Pages/Jaundice.aspx. Accessed Feb. 24, 2011.
- Management of hyperbilirubinemia in the newborn infant 35 or more weeks of gestation. American Academy of Pediatrics Policy. http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;114/1/297. Accessed Feb. 24, 2011.
- Neonatal hyperbilirubinemia. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/sec19/ch274/ch274b.html?qt=neonatal%20hyperbilirubinemia&alt=sh. Accessed Feb. 24, 2011.
- Lease M, et al. Assessing jaundice in infants of 35-week gestation and greater. Current Opinion in Pediatrics. 2010;22:352.
- Cohen RS, et al. Understanding neonatal jaundice: A perspective on causation. Pediatric Neonatology. 2010;51:143.
- Wong RJ, et al. Treatment of unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia in term and late preterm infants. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Feb. 24, 2011.
- Moerschel SK, et al. A practical approach to neonatal jaundice. American Family Physician. 2008;77:1255.