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Thread: Jaundice and pediatrician's order to postpone breastfeeding

  1. #1

    Question Jaundice and pediatrician's order to postpone breastfeeding

    Our son (who is now one week old) had jaundice and had to stay in the hospital. (We actually got discharged from the hospital on Sunday, however on Monday (3 days old) afternoon I have noticed that he has fever so we rushed to the emergency room where we found out that his jaundice increased from bilirubin level of 12.2 to 23 in 24hrs. He was also diagnosed with pretty bad dehydration. We were admitted and we stayed in the hospital until Thursday evening) during our stay multiple pediatricians told me to continue feeding him with breast milk. Today, however,(the baby is one week old) we went for a follow up with a private pediatrician who told us to stop breastfeeding for 48 hours and supplement with formula as it would help clear out jaundice from his body. She ordered that although his jaundice is in the norm and he has gained all his birth weight back (born 8.8lbs, one week later weighs 8.13lbs).
    My question now is, is it true that formula will help clear out jaundice and is it necessary to stop breastfeeding? If we do so how will it affect our ability to continue breastfeeding? Especially with problems that we already have. Is it possible to still have a successful breastfeeding experience? Also the pediatrician told us to dump all the milk that I will pump out during the 48hrs, is it necessary to dump it or can we keep it?

    Please help
    Thank you
    Last edited by @llli*nikolcia; January 20th, 2013 at 01:02 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,996

    Default Re: Jaundice and pediatrician's order to postpone breastfeed

    Just when I think that I have heard every whacky, incorrect piece of breastfeeding advice out there... Something like this comes along.

    When a baby has normal infant jaundice, the best thing to do for him is to feed him a lot. The more milk he takes in, the faster the bilirubin will be flushed from his body. As long as the baby is getting ENOUGH breastmilk, his jaundice should not escalate. But if a baby is not getting enough breastmilk, his jaundice can become more severe. That's probably what landed your LO back in the hospital.

    There's no need, at this point, to formula-feed, and pumping and dumping is sheer lunacy. Your milk isn't poison that will harm your baby- again, when a breastfed baby has severe jaundice, the problem is usually the QUANTITY of milk he is taking in. Not anything else.

    I think I am going to go scream into a pillow for a while now, I mean seriously...

    Oh, and this is a good article on jaundice: http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=...tion&Itemid=17
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    212

    Default Re: Jaundice and pediatrician's order to postpone breastfeed

    You need a new pediatrician. Sometimes with jaundice you may need to supplement for a while, but the doctors closely monitoring him at the hospital would have included that in the discharge plan if it were necessary. I have no idea where your ped. came up with that advice, but she sounds utterly clueless about bf. For the sake of your child, your sanity, and your bf relationship, find another doctor. I would ask for a recommendation from the hospital docs. Often they don't see outpatients, but they do refer. In the meantime nurse as often as the baby is willing to nurse, expose him to sunlight (which also helps clear bilirubin), and remember to drink plenty of water yourself. you're making lots of milk.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    1,710

    Default Re: Jaundice and pediatrician's order to postpone breastfeed

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lehall View Post
    You need a new pediatrician.


    It really upsets me to hear about advice like this still being given out. My son also had severe jaundice in the early days and even just a small amount of supplementing with formula KILLED my supply for a long time. Here's what the doc from the NICU finally came down to tell the docs in the regular ward who didn't know what they were talking about: Breastmilk is a laxative. It clears the jaundice MUCH better than formula ever could. So as long as you are producing enough for your baby you should NOT supplement with formula, and it would NEVER be the right thing to do to REPLACE your breastmilk with formula to clear jaundice. NEVER.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Jaundice and pediatrician's order to postpone breastfeed

    Thank you very much. Your input helped us a lot as we did not followe the ped's directions.
    We have an appointment with the lactation consultant tomorrow and hopefully she will be able to help us fix the rest of our breastfeeding problems.

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