logo
g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Career
Computers
Education
Family
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
Money
News & Politics
Relationships
Religion & Spirituality
Sports
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

dailyclick
Bored? Games!
Nutrition
Postcards
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

new
Creativity
Family Travel
Southwest USA
Irish Culture
Home Finance
Comedy Movies
Romance Novels


dailyclick
All times in EST

Full Schedule
g
g Breastfeeding Site

BellaOnline's Breastfeeding Editor

g

Early Breastfeeding and Jaundice

Guest Author - Nicki Heskin

Jaundice is a relatively common condition in newborn babies today in America. Hospitals and doctors routinely check for jaundice at least once if not numerous times during a postpartum hospital stay, and at follow-up visits after release. While catching jaundice is certainly an important goal, I sometimes wonder if as much focus, money and time went into supporting the first 24-48 hours of breastfeeding if we wouldn’t find we prevented many if not most cases of jaundice.

If this seems like an odd query, it’s important to understand the effect of early breastfeeding on the incidence of jaundice.

Early, Frequent Breastfeeding Prevents Exaggerated Newborn Jaundice

While the general recommendation for breastfeeding is that mothers should nurse newborns 8-12 times in 24 hours, some lactation professionals believe this recommendation should really be 10 or more times in 24 hours. This is because of several studies that indicate that higher frequency of breastfeeding leads to reduced levels of bilirubin. The Breastfeeding Answer Book, 3rd Edition (pg 28) describes an important study in 1990 (Yamauchi and Yamanouchi) that studied 140 healthy, full-term babies and showed that

0% of babies who breastfed 9-11 times in the first 24 hours showed exaggerated jaundice on Day 6.

That’s 0% folks – none – no babies in this study nursed 9-11 times in the first day developed exaggerated jaundice! These numbers increase up to 28% for babies who breastfed 0-2 times, a staggering difference. What is possibly even more shocking is that just the jump from 9-11 feedings down to 7-8 feedings (within or darn close to the common recommendation) raised the percentage from 0% up to 12%.

Imagine the jaundice that could be prevented by making it clear to mothers that they could likely prevent this condition (common enough now that many mothers have heard of it and are worried about it) simply by being diligent about starting breastfeeding and nursing at least 9-11 times starting right away in that first 24 hours. Instead, many mothers are told that it’s normal for babies to be tired after birth and that it’s not that important to nurse often until their milk “comes in.” This could not be farther from the truth, both for the prevention of jaundice as well as the establishment of breastfeeding.

Why Does Early Breastfeeding Affect Jaundice?

The obvious question then is, why? Early breastfeeding has such a profound effect on jaundice for several reasons, but does not really include the reason many would guess. Although formula is sometimes used to “flush” the system with a jaundiced baby, and this does sometimes make sense for a baby 5 or 6 days after birth, the effect of frequent nursing in the first days has little to do with volume. The milk in the first days of a baby’s life is a special low-volume, but high “value per drop” type of milk available only for a few days after birth, called colostrum (see my related article, What is Colostrum?).

This colostrum affects the baby’s body in special ways that do help prevent jaundice (see my related article, Colostrum and Jaundice, coming soon), but not through volume or “flushing” the system. There is a relationship to volume though in that low frequency of early breastfeeding may lead to reduced supply or a delay when the milk transitions to the higher-volume mature milk on day 3-5 that can affect jaundice levels on days 5-6, when exaggerated jaundice is most common. For a baby who has not been breastfeeding enough in the first days, the temporary addition of formula can sometimes kickstart the process of eliminating bilirubin that the breastmilk was meant to be stimulating (ideally, while the mother receives support for the challenges that led to the insufficient breastfeeding in the first place!).

For mothers worried about jaundice, it is worth understanding that one of the most effective ways to combat this condition is to turn the attention immediately after birth to establishing breastfeeding, and having appropriate peer or professional support lined up to help if there are challenges.


Disclaimer: All material on the BellaOnline.com Breastfeeding website is provided for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Although every effort is made to provide accurate and up-to-date information as of the date of publication, the author is neither a medical doctor, health practitioner, nor a Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). If you are concerned about your health, or that of your child, consult with your health care provider regarding the advisability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your individual situation. Information obtained from the Internet can never take the place of a personal consultation with a licensed health care provider, and neither the author nor BellaOnline.com assume any legal responsibility to update the information contained on this site or for any inaccurate or incorrect information contained on this site, and do not accept any responsibility for any decisions you may make as a result of the information contained on this site or in any referenced or linked materials written by others.
This site needs an editor - click to learn more!

Add Early+Breastfeeding+and+Jaundice to Twitter Add Early+Breastfeeding+and+Jaundice to Facebook Add Early+Breastfeeding+and+Jaundice to MySpace Add Early+Breastfeeding+and+Jaundice to Del.icio.us Digg Early+Breastfeeding+and+Jaundice Add Early+Breastfeeding+and+Jaundice to Yahoo My Web Add Early+Breastfeeding+and+Jaundice to Google Bookmarks Add Early+Breastfeeding+and+Jaundice to Stumbleupon Add Early+Breastfeeding+and+Jaundice to Reddit




What is Colostrum?
RSS
Related Articles
Editor's Picks Articles
Top Ten Articles
Previous Features
Site Map


For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Breastfeeding Newsletter


Past Issues


print
Printer Friendly
bookmark
Bookmark
tell friend
Tell a Friend
forum
Forum
email
Email Editor


Content copyright © 2014 by Nicki Heskin. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Nicki Heskin. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.

g


g features
Breastfeeding and Scales

Breastfeeding Help Matters – Why I Write

There are No Breastfeeding Nazis

Archives | Site Map

forum
Forum
email
Contact

Past Issues
memberscenter


vote
Poetry
Daily
Weekly
Monthly
Less than Monthly



BellaOnline on Facebook
g


| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2014 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.


BellaOnline Editor