Management of jaundice

Jaundice in newborn babies is common because their livers aren’t fully developed. Jaundice will make their skin and the whites of their eyes look a bit yellow.

Babies with severe jaundice may be treated with light therapy (phototherapy). The baby is undressed and put under a very bright light, usually with soft eye pads or a special box over their head to protect their eyes.

The special light helps break down the chemical that causes jaundice. It may be possible for your baby to have phototherapy by your bed in the postnatal ward so you don’t have to be separated.

Light treatment may continue for several days, with breaks for feeds, before the jaundice clears up. Sometimes, if the jaundice gets worse, your baby may need a blood transfusion. This isn’t common.

Some babies have jaundice because of liver disease and need different treatment. A blood test that checks for liver disease is done before phototherapy is started.