Childr Health Information


Print this page Bookmark and Share

Topic: Infant Health Care

This handout was written to answer some of the questions most often asked about hyperbilirubinemia.  Feel free to ask your doctor or nurse practitioner to go over any information you do not understand.

Hyperbilirubinemia is often called “jaundice.”  It is a high level of bilirubin in the blood stream.  Bilirubin is a waste product caused by the normal breakdown of red blood cells.  Until birth, the mother’s body takes care of getting rid of all the waste products from the baby.  After birth, it sometimes takes the baby’s body a few days to adjust.  This usually happens during the first week of life.  About half of all babies have some increase in their bilirubin level.  Most babies do not require treatment, however about five percent need special treatment.


·yellow or pumpkin colored skin

·the whites of the eyes turning yellowish

·baby sleeping too much and difficult to wake

·baby not eating well

The main treatment is to expose your baby’s skin to special lights (called bililights or phototherapy).  The lights help your baby get rid of the bilirubin.  Your baby may be undressed with lights over the bed.  A shield will protect your baby’s eyes from the light.  Your baby may have a special bili light pad (called a bili blanket) next to his or her skin.  Sometimes more than one set of lights or lights and the bili blanket are used.  Your baby may need an isolette to stay warm while undressed and under lights.

Your doctor will probably have the bilirubin level checked one or more times a day.  Your baby’s blood will be collected by pricking the heel. 

If you are breastfeeding your baby, you may be asked to give your baby formula for a few days.  Giving the baby more to drink helps get rid of the bilirubin.

Your baby may have an IV to make sure he or she gets plenty of fluids.  The body gets rid of bilirubin in the urine and stool.  Your baby’s urine may turn brown and the stools may turn green and loose for a few days.  The urine and stool with bilirubin may irritate your baby’s skin.  It is best to change diapers and clean your baby’s bottom well soon after the diaper is wet or dirty.  A diaper ointment may be needed.


You may be allowed to hold your baby during feedings, but remember, the more time spent under the lights, the faster the bilirubin levels will go down.

After discharge from the hospital, call your doctor if:

• you notice your baby’s skin or eyes turning more yellow in color
• your baby sleeps more than normal or is difficult to awaken
• your baby is not eating at least every three to four hours
• you have any concerns or questions about your baby or
• your baby develops a temperature of greater than 100°F

PDF: Child Health Information - HYPERBILIRUBINEMIA

Derechos de autor(c) de The Children's Medical Center, ano 1999. Este material unicamente tiene fines educativos. No puede ser reproducido, distribuido ni modificado sin previa autorizacion de The Children's Medical Center of Dayton, One Children's Plaza, Dayton, Ohio, 45404-1815. Llame al 937-641-3666 para solicitar autorizacion o para obtener un juego maestro para copias. Para obtener mas informacion puede visitar (consulte la seccion de informacion legal).

La informacion contenida en este material es unicamente informacion de tipo general. No debe considerarse como completa. Para obtener mas informacion acerca de los complementos para leche materna, por favor pidala a su doctor.
Corregido: 1999, 2008

The information contained in this handout is for general information only and should not be considered complete. For specific information about bathing your baby, please ask your doctor or nurse practitioner.

Additional information may be located in the Family Resource Center, 2nd floor, near the Outpatient Surgery Center. Hours of the center vary; please contact the Family Resource Center at 937-641-3700.

Copyright(c) The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. This material is for educational purposes only. It cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission from Dayton Children's.
Revised: 1999, 2008


Sign up for Pediatric Link

Finding the latest trusted child health and safety information doesn't have to be hard. Pediatric Link, Dayton Children's e-newsletter offers timely and up-to-date information for health care professionals from the experts you trust at Dayton Children's.  Sign up

Upcoming Events

Dayton Children’s cordially invites you to attend our upcoming state-wide pediatric trauma symposium. The symposium will be held at the Wyndham Hotel, Miamisburg, OH on April 25, 2014.

Get your family started on a healthy lifestyle

Join the Beavercreek TWIG groups 11, 17, and 22 for the annual spring luncheon, Run for the Roses, on April 26, 2014 at the Beavercreek Golf Club.

View full event calendarView full event calendar

The Right Experts

Just right for all kids


The Children's Medical Center of Dayton Dayton Children's
The Right Care for the Right Reasons

One Children's Plaza - Dayton, Ohio - 45404-1815