Jaundice in Newborns: Treatment Options and Tips

02 November 2023

Jaundice is a common condition in newborns that can cause worry for new parents. It is characterised by a yellowish tinge on the baby's face and body. It's essential to understand the causes of jaundice, when to seek medical advice, and how to manage this condition.

Dr Lim Wei Leng will explore the key aspects of jaundice in newborns and offer guidance for concerned parents.

Causes of Jaundice in Newborns

Jaundice in newborns typically occurs due to the baby's immature liver, which struggles to break down bilirubin, a byproduct of red blood cell turnover. This results in a yellow tinge on the baby's skin and eyes.

Identifying Normal vs. Prolonged Jaundice

To distinguish between normal and prolonged jaundice, consider the following factors:

Typically, during the first one or two days, the baby should not have any jaundice. Jaundice becomes apparent after three or four days. The condition peaks around days 5 and 6 and typically goes away within the first two weeks of life.

However, if jaundice persists beyond three weeks, it is important to consult a paediatrician. Prolonged jaundice may indicate rare cases where intervention is necessary. These cases occur when newborns have extremely high levels of bilirubin in their blood.

Treatment and Management of Jaundice

If your baby's jaundice requires treatment, the most common method is phototherapy.

This involves placing the baby under special lights that help break down bilirubin, allowing it to be eliminated from the body.

In more severe cases, additional interventions may be necessary.

When to Seek Professional Help

It's important to consult a paediatrician in the following situations:

  • The yellowish tinge worsens or persists beyond three weeks.
  • Your baby shows signs of dehydration, poor feeding, or lethargy.

Consulting with a healthcare professional is important to assess your baby's condition, provide reassurance, and recommend any necessary interventions.


While jaundice in newborns can be a source of concern for new parents, it's important to remember that it's often a normal and temporary part of the newborn period.

By understanding the causes, recognising when to seek professional help, and knowing how to manage the condition, you can confidently navigate this common aspect of early parenthood.

Book an appointment with our paediatricians for more information: https://www.sunwaymedical.com/en/speciality/paediatrics