Jaundice and Your Newborn Baby



Jaundice is a condition that affects more than 90 percent of babies, usually on the third or fourth day of life, as a result of extra bilirubin, a waste product the baby's liver produces after birth. In its mildest form, jaundice is not harmful to the baby. During the first week after birth, feed your baby often (every two to three hours during the day), and expose her to sunlight to lower her body's bilirubin level.

A baby with jaundice will appear tanned or bronzed (even after you press on her skin). If your baby has jaundice that requires medical attention, the soles and palms of her feet may be yellowish, as will the whites of her eyes. Your baby may also be very sleepy and have no appetite. If your baby appears more than a little yellow and/or can't be woken for feedings, call her health care provider immediately. She will want to check the bilirubin level and may suggest a therapy involving exposure to special lights. Be sure to find out what the best option is, and whether you need to have the therapy done in the hospital or can do it at home.

Signs of illness

Most newborns are very healthy. But it's always a wise idea to recognize signs that your baby might need medical attention. Go to the page titled "Your Baby's Health Care Checkups"  for advice on when to call your baby's health care provider.

Continue to "Your Baby's Health Checkups" journey to parenthood

Most recent page update: 9/9/2010


© 2014 National Partnership for Women & Families. All rights reserved.

Founded in 1918, Childbirth Connection has joined forces with and become a core program of the National Partnership for Women & Families. Together, these two women's health powerhouses are transforming maternity care in the United States.
News and Features
Special Announcement

Childbirth Connection has joined forces with and become a core program of the National Partnership for Women & Families.
Read more


Our History

This interactive timeline highlights our trailblazing work since 1918.
Launch timeline


Our Vision

We want all women and babies receive the best possible maternity care.
Play video


Featured Resource


Check out our resource, "What Every Pregnant Woman Needs to Know about Cesarean Section."
Read more


Get Involved

Read our 2020 Vision, Blueprint for Action, blog and more
Sign up for email updates
Find us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Support us