Our bout with Jaundice

Who would have thought that our precious little Erin would develop jaundice just because of dehydration? I really thought that jaundice is an infection or it is something that results from blood type incompatibilities. Period. It turns out that newborns can also get it if they are not getting enough milk for nourishment. (Trivia: Protein helps break down bilirubin. Milk is a good source of protein.)

A midwife visited us last Wednesday afternoon (21 March) as part of the hospital’s discharge program to check on us both. Unknown to us, Erin had lost a significant amount of weight (300 grams) since the day she was born. This only meant that she wasn’t getting enough milk from me. This also explained why she had been waking up every hour to feed and she had been crying incessantly the night before. In short, the poor thing was hungry! 😦 This prompted the midwife to take another blood sample from Erin’s heel to check on her bilirubin level. She advised us to do top-up feeding as well which required us to feed her an additional 40 ml of formula milk and expressed breast milk every three to four hours while we wait for my milk supply to increase.

That same night though, the midwife called us up to inform us that Erin should be readmitted to the hospital for phototherapy and rehydration because her bilirubin level was at 300 plus. J and I went back to the hospital that night and Erin was stripped down to her nappy. She was placed in a bassinet made of clear hard plastic which was placed directly under the phototherapy lamp to help break down the bilirubin at a faster rate. It was very difficult for us to get any sleep that night because we had to make sure she was settled in the bassinet and we had to get up every three to four hours to feed her.

By morning, Erin gained back 115 grams and her bilirubin level was down to 298. She was also excreting the bilirubin from her body, as shown in her poo. Thank God! The nurse in the morning shift who had been tending to Erin told us that we might be going home later in the day due to Erin’s progress. We just needed the go-signal from the neonatologist (we later learned the doctor was also a Filipino). In the early afternoon, the doctor arrived to check on her and to ask us about our past medical history. While conversing with the doctor, I noticed that he didn’t have an Australian accent and that his name was vaguely familiar (another Filipino friend mentioned his name earlier in the week). I couldn’t help myself so I directly asked him if he was Filipino and he said yes. So since then, we conversed in Tagalog. 🙂

Anyway, I digress. 😀 Doctor G said that the ideal bilirubin level is actually 250 and that we might have to stay another night for more treatment. I pointed out that the nurse told us earlier that we could go home already that day so he took the time to check for us if it was truly fine to go home in spite of Erin’s bilirubin level. He came back to give us the go-signal to go home and to just continue with the top-up feeding and indirect exposure to sunlight. A midwife would also be visiting us the following day to get another blood sample from Erin to monitor her progress. By Friday, the 23rd, Erin’s bilirubin level was now down to 260. By Sunday morning, her weight went up to 2640 grams.  Yesterday, she has gained another 60 grams, bringing her back nearly to her birth weight.

We’re still feeding her formula milk to this day, but since my milk supply has steadily been increasing, we’re trying to lessen her intake from the bottle and go more for the breast. Next week, we’re going to the clinic for another weight check and we’re hoping she’ll reach the 3k mark. All’s well that ends well. 🙂

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7 Responses to “Our bout with Jaundice”

  1. wow, you know i was under the impression that jaundice is very common (almost normal) in babies. guess i thought wrong–after all what do i know haha. glad little Erin is okay now and has gained back the weight!

  2. Glad you ironed things out. There is such a thing as breastmilk jaundice as well, this eventually goes away.

  3. bading! glad baby erin is ok na. get some rest. baka ikaw naman pumayat. haha. take care. we miss you!

  4. Our newborn was in hospital a total of 10 days due to jaundice (we went home for a couple of days then had to be readmitted). He was in neonatal care under phototherapy, too. In hindsight, those 10 days were a blessing. I learned so many breastfeeding techniques from all the different midwives who helped us–I would never have learned that on my own. This time around, I’ve already told my husband that he can whinge all he likes but I’m staying in hospital as long as I can until they kick me out! *lol*

    Glad to hear you’re both home, healthy and I hope very happy! 🙂

  5. Awww…glad to know that Erin is better and you have a Pinoy doctor too! Take care!!! 🙂

  6. Hey everyone! We are so relieved that Erin is finally doing okay. Looks like the jaundice has finally receded and we are on the way to making her one healthy little bub. 🙂

    KAT: naku, ang tinde nga talaga ng mga midwives/nurses dito. They really encourage every mom to breastfeed as much as possible. I too have learned so much from them, even up to now that we see them at the health centre for regular checks. There was one midwife though at the hospital who made me want to leave the hospital asap because she was being too helpful. she came to our room frequently just to check on us, even if we did not page for her. i know the intention was good but i really didn’t get any sleep when she was on duty. 😛

  7. simplymuah Says:

    Hi, Baka nga breastmilk jaundice ang nangyari sa baby mo. Had the same problem with my son. Sabi ng “pinay” nurse dito sa SG, pag daw naka admit sa kanila ang baby kahit na me iniwan na expressed milk ang mga mommies di nila un binibigay. Formula pinapadodo nila para mawala ang jaundice. Tyagain mo lang paarawan ren si baby sa umaga. And do continue to breastfeed. Di talaga sakitin si baby pag breastfeed. Anak ko, breastfed till 2.5yo. =)

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