Jaundice

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KerriWeasel's picture
Joined: 01/28/10
Posts: 464
Jaundice

As you my know from y breastfeeding post, Lizzie was borderline on her bilirubin test. On the second test, before we left the hospital, she was about the same. We were told to follow up with our pediatrician today. So we did.

Guess what? Lizzie is high on the jaundice scale. I don't know her exact numbers. I do know that we are waiting for a medical service company to arrive with a rented photo blanket for the poor baby. We also have to stop the breast milk and put her on formula. Then we go back tomorrow morning to have her retested.

I worked so hard to finally get breast milk in and now I have to sop giving it to her. I started pumping so I have a supply - yes I know there's a bright side, but still. It almost discourages me from trying again. She took to the formula the doctor told us to get and she seems to sleep better and hasn't been fussy.

The other thing is, I wish we would have know to try and supplement while we were beginning the breastfeeding process. I wasn't giving her enough and now look. She has jaundice and we are waiting on a photo blanket and she has to be retested.

This kills me. I know it's not my fault, but i feel terrible. I also just want a healthy baby. I know many, many newborns have jaundice; even my niece had jaundice. I just worry. I wish the doctor never mentioned the words brain damage when discussing it. (He said that there was no way she could have any; because our Coombs test was negative - we have different blood types. She even has a different one from her dad.)

So me being a first-time mom and worry wart extraordinaire is worried about her getting brain damage. I know it's silly and far fetched and my husband keeps telling me, "That's why we are doing the photo blanket and formula. And stop Googling stuff. It make it worse."

I'm just sad about this and want to be upset. I don't want to breastfeed anymore. Not if it's what hurting her. Husband wants me to because of the benefits and trust me I do to, but not if it's going to hurt her.

I think I am just tired, sad, exhausted and everything in between, which is making me an emotional wreck.

Joined: 12/01/10
Posts: 120

*lurker*

I am a post partum nurse/nursery nurse and deal with babies who need photo therapy all the time. If the level was high enough to cause brain damage there is no way you would be doing a bili blanket at home. If it was that high, the baby would be in the NICU at the hospital under double or triple lights.

Also, I have never heard of a doctor saying to stop breastfeeding. They usually say supplement after breastfeeding if you have a low supply, and feed at least every three hours. If your milk is in, I have no idea why he would tell you to stop. The important thing is for frequent peeing and pooping, which helps get rid of the bili. If the baby is getting adequate intake from you, it does not make sense why the doc would tell you to stop.

In addition to the bili blanket, indirect light helps also. So if you have a place in your house where you can sit will the bili blanket and the baby in indirect sun light, that will help even more.

Hope this helps a little. Don't be hard on yourself, jaundice and photo therapy is sooo common. I would re-ask about the bf though.

VCoates's picture
Joined: 05/22/07
Posts: 1055

Do NOT stop breastfeeding. Who told you to stop breastfeeding?

Jaundice is VERy common in newborns. Both Alex and MAx had jaundice. But whatever you do, do NOT stop breastfeeding. Whoever told you that was an idiot. We were told to supplement with formula after we breastfeed. I however didn't really follow this. I only offered formula maybe once a day.

You need to get a SNS. http://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com/products/breastfeeding-devices/51/supplemental-nursing-system-sns
Where you can still breastfeed and supplement with formula or breastmilk. Check out the hospital where you had Lizzie and they should be able to get you this or something just like it. My hospital gave me something like this but with a syringe to slowly push formula through the tube.

Okay, maybe whoever told you to not breastfeed isn't an idiot but I would NOT listen to that advice and I'm willing to bet that most women on here would agree with me on that.

joysiloo's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1054

That's crazy that they told you to stop breastfeeding! I've never heard that from any of the pediatricians in the hospital. I've heard of supplementing, but breastmilk is better for resolving jaundice than formula so it would be nuts to stop. Please do more research before stopping. Is your pedi older and maybe not current with info?

Here's an article from the American Academy of Pediatrics on jaundice...the #1 objective for infants with jaundice is to promote successful breastfeeding.
http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;114/1/297

We're dealing with some jaundice here too. Cormac's sclera were a little yellow this morning, so we took him to get a bili level drawn today. We were told to nurse every two hours and to put him in indirect sunlight in just his diaper.

turtnjay's picture
Joined: 02/24/09
Posts: 2095

Lurker...

I had the exact same thing with DS#4 back in 2010. By 1 week his levels reached 22 and he had to be readmitted and then placed in NICU for 1 week with a bili blanket and in a light bed.

My ped suggested I supplement and BF but that the formula would allow baby to get a bit mire food and easier and it would allow for the expulsion of the bili/cells that needed to leave.

Everytime he BF'd he fell asleep and so wasn't getting much food and wasn't pooping near enough. I say supplement but also try bottles of pumped breastmilk. While in the NICU I pumped (because I refused to formula feed) and it was encouraged by everyone and then fed him the breastmilk from the bottle.

But, in hindsight, I wish I had supplemented formula earlier. I think it would have helped him get over the issue faster and not have had to be readmitted. Good luck, momma. And I do completely understand you wanting to be mad.

I was so sad and mad in dealing with this issue. And it scared me, too! But he's now a perfect, smart little monkey with no I'll effects.

Joined: 03/06/09
Posts: 1054

What Joy said. It is VERY old school thinking to tell you to stop BFing. They actually used to call it "Breastmilk Jaundice", but that's completely outdated. There are no studies that support giving formula instead of breastmilk for jaundice. You just need to feed, feed, and feed some more. Help her get all of that bilirubin out of her system.
I am so sorry you're dealing with this. It's so stressful trying to adjust to a newborn without having to worry about other issues. :bigarmhug:

LauraMae78's picture
Joined: 01/10/11
Posts: 969

i have no advise for you Kerri, but i will keep you and Lizzie in my prayers!

Joined: 12/21/10
Posts: 529

I have to agree with pp...do not stop breastfeeding. All the research that I have done (and I am no dr, I admit) says that b/f is better with jaundice.

"Adequate amounts of breastmilk increase a baby’s bowel movements, which help secrete the buildup of bilirubin. Breasfeeding jaundice can occur when a newborn does not get a good start to breastfeeding, has an improper latch or is supplemented with other substitutes which interfere with breastfeeding. Breastfeeding jaundice often will resolve itself with increased feedings and help from a lactation consultant to make sure the baby is indeed taking in adequate amounts. Rarely does a breastfed baby need any other type of treatment besides these for breastfeeding jaundice."

http://www.americanpregnancy.org/firstyearoflife/breastfeedingandjaundice.htm

"Rarely is the interruption of breastfeeding an effective treatment for jaundice in a breastfed baby. If a baby’s bilirubin levels reach 20 milligrams or above, a recommendation to cease breastfeeding for 24 hours may be used in conjunction with phototherapy. This can usually drop bilirubin levels dramatically and the mom can then resume breastfeeding as normal after the 24 hour period. Using a lactation aid to deliver supplementation and pumping during this 24 hour period would be the best way to avoid any problems in the breastfeeding relationship."

KerriWeasel's picture
Joined: 01/28/10
Posts: 464

Thanks you guys! We didn't get a bili blanket but a medela light she lays on. Apparently they were all out and in demand.

I think I'm going to sneak in some breast milk. She won't take a bottle from DH - we think it's because she's used to me feeding her and my scent. Plus she won't drink much if the formula.

KerriWeasel's picture
Joined: 01/28/10
Posts: 464

"LauraMae78" wrote:

i have no advise for you Kerri, but i will keep you and Lizzie in my prayers!

Thank Sweetie! It means a lot.

squirrel27's picture
Joined: 05/13/08
Posts: 781

Keep BFing. Don't be so hard on yourself either. It's very common, and like others said, if she was at risk for brain damage shed be in nicu.

If you need to supplement, even for a few days, don't worry. It won't hurt her. Just always offer boob first and then supplement if she's still hungry. You can also do the tube thing, I found it extremely frustrating, but people do it with a lot of success.

Big hugs for you Hun, hang in there. I know how draining it can be.

VCoates's picture
Joined: 05/22/07
Posts: 1055

"squirrel27" wrote:

Keep BFing. Don't be so hard on yourself either. It's very common, and like others said, if she was at risk for brain damage shed be in nicu.

If you need to supplement, even for a few days, don't worry. It won't hurt her. Just always offer boob first and then supplement if she's still hungry. You can also do the tube thing, I found it extremely frustrating, but people do it with a lot of success.

Big hugs for you Hun, hang in there. I know how draining it can be.

I had to use the tube feeding with DS1 and found it VERY frustrating but this time with Max I didn't have any problems. Before they told me to tape it to my boob. This time I would get him latched on and the slip in the tube on the side. I would very very slowly push the syringe in therefore releasing milk through the tube. At the hospital they had a pump that would do it.

mist1006's picture
Joined: 01/10/07
Posts: 1018

DS was jaundiced and had to be in a light bed for a weekend. I didn't do any formula feeding.. I did all bm, but I did have a friend pump for me as well as my supply wasn't great. Between having him in the bed as much as possible and feeding him like I did his levels dropped, FAST. I agree with not giving up BF. Ben had a terrible latch because he was tongue tied so I was finger feeding.

Best of luck from another Kerri Smile