Symptoms of jaundice in newborn babies

Jaundice usually appears about three days after birth and disappears by the time the baby is two weeks old.

In premature babies, who are more prone to jaundice, it can take five to seven days to appear and usually lasts about three weeks. It also tends to last longer in babies who are breastfed, affectingsome babies for a few months.

If your baby has jaundice, their skin will look slightly yellow. The yellowing of the skin usually starts on the head and face, before spreading to the chest and stomach.

In some babies, the yellowing reaches their legs and arms. The yellowing may also increase if you press an area of skin down with your finger.

Changes in skin colour can be more difficult to spot if your baby has a darker skin tone. In these cases, yellowing may be more obvious elsewhere, such as:

  • in the whites of their eyes
  • inside their mouth
  • on the soles of their feet
  • on the palms of their hand

A newborn baby withjaundice may also:

  • be poor at sucking or feeding
  • be sleepy
  • have a high-pitched cry
  • be limp and floppy
  • have dark,yellowurine it should becolourless
  • have pale poo it should be yellow or orange

When to seek medical advice

Your baby will usually be examined for signs of jaundice within 72 hours of being born, during the newborn physical examination.

If your baby develops signs of jaundice after this time, speak to your midwife, health visitoror GP as soon as possiblefor advice.

While jaundice isn't usually a cause for concern, it's important to determine whether your babyneeds treatment.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 24 Nov 2016