If your baby is diagnosed with jaundice, the news can be scary for you. Jaundice can range from mild to severe. If left untreated, mild cases may resolve themselves. Severe cases could lead to brain damage or even death. Fortunately, for babies, jaundice is very common, and doctors and hospitals are well aware of the signs and the treatment.
All three of my children were diagnosed with jaundice. Each had a different degree of jaundice and therefore different treatment or combination of treatments. Here is what to expect if your baby is diagnosed with jaundice.
Pricks and blood tests
Depending on the hospital, your baby may or may not be subjected to blood tests. A wide number of hospitals use a device that is place on the baby’s forehead to read the amount of bilirubin that is present in the skin. If your hospital checks levels with blood tests, your baby’s foot may be massaged or warmed with a little heat to get the blood to the surface of the foot. Then a small prick is made on the heel of the foot and a small smear of blood is taken. The test may be repeated a few times a day.
Going home and hospital stays
If the jaundice is not severe, your baby may be sent home with you with instructions to return to the hospital or your pediatrician for bilirubin checks. Or, if your insurance covers the cost, a nurse may be sent to your home for these checks.
Your baby may also need to stay in the hospital for treatment after you go home, or may have to be admitted to the hospital even after the you are both released, if the bilirubin levels rise to a level that concerns the doctors.
Coming soon, I’ll talk about the range of prescribed treatments, such as feedings, sun exposure, the Kangaroo device for use at home, and hospital treatment. I’ll also talk about possible side effects of these treatments.
Mary Ann Romans writes about everything related to saving money in the Frugal Blog, technology in the Computing Blog, and creating a home in the Home Blog. Starting June 1st, don’t miss her articles in the Baby Blog. You can read more of her articles by clicking here.