breastfeeding jaundice - rather long, need advice

Discussion in 'Breastfeeding' started by Cattia, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. Cattia

    Cattia Well-Known Member

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    I went to see the HV today and she sent us to the Dr because George still has jaundice at five weeks. The Dr refered us to the hospital. We had a jaundice test already two weeks ago. When we got there I saw a really nice paediatrician. She said that he has Breastfeeding jaundice and she wasn't going to do another blood test as his levels from the last one came back at 77 which apparently is mild.
    I have read that in some cases they recommend giving formula for two days and pumping which can bring the levels down and once they go down they don't tend to go up again when BF is reintroduced. Is this true? She didn't mention this but she did say that something in the breast milk is causing the recycling if bilirubin or something like that. I worry a lot about the long tefm effects of jaundice especially since I read about a link betwen jaundice and autism (this has always been something I have neurotically worried about). I don't want to feel that my milk is contributing to this going on and on.
    He also had far fewever dirty nappies than he did, not even one a day sometimes but he wees a lot and his weight gain is good.
    I also read that this type of jaundice can be herreditory but my daughter never had even a touch of jaundice.
    I would love to know if anyone had experience of this and can advise about whether a temporary two day stint on formula will help and whether 77 really is an OK level. I just feel stressed about this especially as we are also battling with reflux and colic and poor George has baically not been happy since he was born.
     
  2. JenJen79

    JenJen79 Well-Known Member

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    Hi, can't help a lot I'm afraid as Mia's jaundice went after a couple of weeks but regarding the soiled nappies, at 4 - 5 weeks the numbers of pooey nappies dropped from lots every day to one every few days, so this is fairly normal. Good luck with getting the jaundice down. :flower:
     
  3. ALM

    ALM Active Member

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    Hi there, I don't post very often but wanted to let you know that I had the same problem, was referred to the hospital after the 6 week check and her levels came back as 'moderately raised' which was 120 and they didn't need to take any action. It did take quite a while for it to go completely, from memory I would say about 10 weeks, maybe more. They just advised me to feed, feed, feed!
    A few days on Formula would most likely help but I was never told to try this (I read it online) and to be honest it could really mess with your milk supply so early on so I wouldn't risk it myself. It was a bit of a worry but she's none the worse for it and is happy healthy and developing well so I'm sure your LO will be fine, try not to worry too much :)
     
  4. pachamama

    pachamama Well-Known Member

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    Hi,

    My lo had breastmilk jaundice for around 3 months. Once his initial levels fell to mild jaundice levels, he never had any further tests. He was bright and alert, fed frequently, gained weight well and produced plenty of wet and poo-ey nappies.

    I'm pretty sure his bilirubin levels were in the low 100's, so 77 does seem low. We never supplemented with formula - although, of course, that would work because, as I understand it, it's an element of the breastmilk which causes it. However, from what I also understand it is generally completely benign in its effect and doesn't need to be 'cured', as such. It generally resolves itself at 1-3 months. Small disclaimer - this is for prolonged diagnosed breastmilk jaundice only - not for anything else.

    hth

    x
     
  5. pixydust

    pixydust Married mama of two :D

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    Hi, slightly different situation but my son had mild jaundice when we were discharged after his birth and by 5 days old it had escalated and was SEVERE jaundice!! We were rushed into hospital for an urgent blood exchange transfusion (which thankfully he didnt end up having!)....

    Anyway, he was treated with quadruple phototherapy, during which they wouldnt let me breastfeed at all or feed him EBM, he had a drip and then had to have formula in order for it to fully clear so from that I guess stopping breastfeeding for a while can help?

    Also, a link to autism was never mentioned to me but they did say the levels of bilirubin he had can cause damage to the brain which effect the bodies natural reactions to things, like the feeling you have when your falling, luckily Jake has already been given the all clear for any damage though. I hope that helps a little x
     
  6. pachamama

    pachamama Well-Known Member

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    Hi pixydust,

    Really sorry to hear about your lo. And thank goodness all is well now.

    But from what I understand it, it's very common for babies to get jaundiced in the first week of life and this can escalate (rarely) to dangerous levels, like with your poor lo.

    However, breastmilk prolonged jaundice is different, as far as I know and is not dangerous in the same way, as it has a different cause...

    Does anyone know more details about this? Maybe someone on the breastfeeding bit?

    x
     
  7. New Mrs W

    New Mrs W Frankie and Mickey's Mama

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    Frankie was admitted to hospital at 3 days old with jaundice and had quadruple light therapy for 2 days. He had a tube in his nose to keep him topped up with milk as the doc feared that he may become dehydrated being under the lamp all that time. However, I was told that BF was good for babies with jaundice as it helps to flush it out of their systems so I BF and pumped so he had EBM through the tube as his top ups too. He was home within 2 days. Nothing was mentioned to me about FF him at this time.
     
  8. lozzy21

    lozzy21 Mummy to Niamh

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    Breastmilk causing jaundice? Iv never heard of that, if anything i would have thought that since BF babys take less milk than FF babys they are not getting enough fluids to flush it out as quick.
     
  9. Cattia

    Cattia Well-Known Member

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    Thank you so much to you all for sharing your experiences, I don't know what I would do without this forum. I do feel somewhat reassured as it seems like 77 isn't that bad a level. I don't really want to use forumla because I am worried about my supply and also I would be worried that he might not latch again. I hadn't thought of putting this is in BF section, I might put a copy of it there as well.
     
  10. summer rain

    summer rain Mum of 5

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    Hi hun

    I have a lot of experience with this, it is something that coincidentally,runs in both sides of the family so my sons really get the brunt of it. Even my son who didn't lose a single oz and gained well over a pound in the first 10 days was significantly jaundiced for at least 3 weeks. Although it is often called breastmilk jaundice, there is no proof that anything in breastmilk causes prolonged jaundice, just certain theories. The type of jaundice that causes brain damage and possible learning difficulties later in life is not the same type of jaundice at all as breastmilk jaundice; I've researched it and there is not a single case of a breastfed baby with prolonged jaundice who has no underlying health issues developing any type of long term effects from it. In the case of breastmilk jaundice the yellow colour is very much cosmetic, some scientists now even believe that lower levels of bilirubin lingering in the system have a protective, antioxidant quality.

    It can be hereditary and often when its hereditary; it will only affect the boys in the family; and not the girls; so it is possible this is the case here. In OHs family none of the girls get jaundiced at all but with the boys they usually need hospital treatment. Also while it is less common some FF babies do get this type of prolonged jaundice as well, but there are no sinister underlying causes, it is just one of those things. In my OHs family he and his two brothers were EFF from birth yet had this type of prolonged jaundice after having very intense jaundice that needed phototherapy in the first few days. 77 is a very low level; and there is no need to switch to formula for two days. In general this is not recommended these days anyway because it can actually interfere sometimes with the bilirubin being excreted and with this type of 'breastmilk' jaundice at such low levels, the risk of losing some of the benefits from exclusive breastfeeding or even having to stop BF altogether (which is a risk), outweigh anything else. My eldest was jaundiced for 12 weeks at pretty high levels; he had phototherapy at a week old but it didn't work; they also pretty much switched him to formula for four days solid (I only expressed about 120ml of EBM at this time because they told me not to bother and facilities were not great) and put him on a sugar water drip for nearly four days along with giving formula. None of these things worked in getting his level down significantly and when he was discharged his level shot right back up. Anyway he is a perfectly healthy 7 year old. My youngest now was jaundiced for 7 and a half weeks, again he had phototherapy in the early days and they insisted on giving him one bottle of formula and a drip and the same thing happened as had happened with my eldest. His weight gain was above average, he was normal and alert, and he'd have wetter nappies than my then 3.5 year old as well as many pooey nappies a day so the paediatrician we saw last said please do not worry and ordered me not to give formula but just to continue BF. In some countries prolonged 'breastmilk' jaundice is pretty much endemic in the population so health care professionals and parents there are a lot more used to it xx
     
  11. Cattia

    Cattia Well-Known Member

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    Thank you Summer rain, that is so helpful and reassuring, I feel so much better after reading this.I won't switch to formula, I will keep going, especially as I have now done two weeks dairy free for the reflux so I don't want to undo all that either, I want to do a whole month to see if it helps.
     
  12. mumoffive

    mumoffive Well-Known Member

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    I was so worried about my dd having jaundice and found this thread very interesting. I was re-admitted to the ward a day after i was discharged with my baby when her levels had risen and spotted by the mw coming out . She was classed as borderline. She underwent phototherapy for a couple of days on a billybed at which point her levels did drop. I was told just to keep feeding her [ i am bottle feeding] and it would help it to flush out of her system. She is now two weeks and she is looking far less jaundiced now although still slightly notice it on the whites of her eyes. I didnt realise it can take such a long time to clear. I havent ever heard of bf jaundice either..i just thought babies had jaundice and that was that.
    Hope the jaundice clears soon. xx
     
  13. Cattia

    Cattia Well-Known Member

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    Thanks to mods for moving this for me, sorry I now have two threads running the same such makes me look rather obsessive!!
     
  14. mumoffive

    mumoffive Well-Known Member

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    I found this after googling:

    Prolonged jaundice (jaundice lasting for longer than 14 days in term infants and 21 days in preterm infants):
    Infection, e.g. urinary tract infection
    Hypothyroidism, hypopituitarism
    Galactosaemia
    Breast milk jaundice: baby is well and the jaundice usually resolves by six weeks but occasionally continues for up to four monthsGastrointestinal (GI): biliary atresia, choledochal cyst, neonatal hepatitis
     
  15. Cattia

    Cattia Well-Known Member

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    Thanks mumoffive, he is almost six weeks so hopefully it will start to clear up soon. Poor little man looks like he has been on the beach for a week!
     
  16. summer rain

    summer rain Mum of 5

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    We used to call my eldest 'des o connor' :D It did get upsetting though when he got to 3-4 months old and he was still yellow as passers by etc assumed something serious was wrong with him, but its very rare for it to last that long xx
     

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