Newborn babies have many little quirks about them when they are born, one of which is often a yellowish tint called jaundice. Many new parents are alarmed when they bring baby home and notice a yellowing of the eyes and skin. Still, physiological jaundice is actually a common condition in newborns and can often be easily treated with natural, at-home remedies.1
So why, exactly, does jaundice occur? According to The Mayo Clinic, jaundice occurs due to an excess of bilirubin, a yellow pigment of the red blood cells.2 Most of the time, the baby’s liver just needs to mature a bit for jaundice to go away. Rarely, an infection could be causing the yellow color. Either way, be sure to inform your pediatrician of any symptoms you see to avoid further complications, especially since the onset of jaundice before baby’s second day of life can be a dangerous sign.3
If your new bundle of joy does contract jaundice, here are a few natural ways to help treat the common condition.
Natural Ways to Treat Newborn Jaundice
Sit Near the Window
Sunlight is one of the best ways to remove jaundice from a newborn baby.4 Position your glider or chair near a window, so the baby gets some natural light while feeding, burping, or just laying with you. If the weather allows it, go for walks and allow the sun to touch your baby’s skin (just be sure they aren’t overheating or getting a sunburn!). Even if it is overcast outside, your baby can still benefit from the natural light, so open those shades and let the light in!
Feed Them Often
You may already feel like you are doing this as a new mama, but feeding your baby often is one of the best ways to eliminate jaundice. The goal is to help the liver better rid itself of the bilirubin. So, the more often baby poops, the more you should see the yellow subsiding.
Take Vitamin D
If you are breastfeeding your baby, any vitamins you take will pass to your baby through your milk.5 If you have a newborn suffering from jaundice, consider adding vitamin D to your diet, either through the foods you eat or through a supplement. Vitamin D is said to boost their levels and help get rid of bilirubin.6
Know Your Supply
Jaundice can be more common in breastfed babies because they aren’t getting enough milk due to mama’s milk coming in late or an improper latch. The first thing you need to do is seek a lactation consultant’s assistance to correct the latch or other feeding issues. Next, also consider supplementing feedings with donor milk or formula. Speak with your pediatrician to better know how well your baby is being fed and whether this is a necessary step, even if just for the short term.
Supplement With Probiotics
A meta-analysis has shown that probiotic supplementation in newborns can significantly reduce bilirubin levels.7 You can either up your probiotic intake and let baby get some of it to get it through your breast milk or give a special infant supplement directly to your baby.
Increase Your Magnesium Intake
Studies have shown that women who take at least 250 mg of magnesium during pregnancy had a 20% reduction of excess bilirubin in their newborn babies.8 Start taking a magnesium supplement like this one or increase your intake of magnesium-rich foods.
If you try all of these natural remedies and are still seeing signs of jaundice, do not let it go untreated. Most babies will naturally get rid of the extra bilirubin on their own, but that is not always the case. When in doubt, always take them over to the pediatrician to take a look. Most importantly, though, don’t fret—the yellow tint can be worrying for new moms and dads, but your baby is just as adorable and will soon be yellow-free!