Many newborn babies develop yellow skin when their liver cannot get rid of a substance in the blood called bilirubin. This condition is called jaundice. Jaundice usually appears on the second or third day of life in healthy babies who are born full-term. It's very common and may occur sooner in preterm babies.
The yellow skin first appears on the face and then moves down the body toward the toes. In most cases, the condition is mild and disappears on its own without any special treatment. If you notice your baby’s skin color becoming yellow, call your pediatrician.
To check your baby's bilirubin level, we take a small amount of blood from their heel. If the jaundice requires treatment, we often use a technique called phototherapy. This treatment involves placing your baby under special ultraviolet lights called "bili-lights." Exposing the skin to these lights helps your baby's body get rid of bilirubin faster. This treatment may be done in the hospital or in your home through a home care agency.
Call your baby’s doctor if you see any of these signs:
- Decreased urination
- Eyes look yellow
- Feeding poorly
- Fever Listlessness or difficult to awaken
- Not gaining weight Skin becomes more yellow on the abdomen, arms or legs