Does your baby lately seem lethargic or drowsy? Are they facing feeding problems too? Then there might be symptoms of your baby having jaundice. Apart from the most distinguishing symptom of yellow skin color and tit of yellow in your baby’s eyeballs, lethargy and trouble in feeding are also apparent.
Jaundice starts spreading from your baby’s face to the chest, stomach, and then the legs. Excess of bilirubin as it builds up faster than the liver can break it down and pass it from the body majorly causes jaundice. Apparently, more than 80% of all newborns appear jaundiced during the first week of life and are usually mild. Jaundice does make your little one sleepier than usual.
In the sections below, let’s look at various difficulties your little one faces when they have jaundice, especially sleeping too much being one of the problems. Hopefully, you will find answers to your questions about sleepiness in your little one.
Sleeping Issues Related to Babies with Jaundice
Normal Sleeping Pattern
If we talk about standard sleeping patterns in your little one, they should usually get about 14-17 hours of sleep over a period of 24 hours of time. It is also completely okay if your little one sleeps for 18-19 a day.
As long as it’s not all at once and they wake up in between to feed and poop. Newborns usually get hungry and full too soon, so they should keep waking up in about 2-3 hours to feed, as this is considered normal.
Sleeping during Jaundice
If your baby is sleeping too much at one time and you can notice other physical changes in them, then obviously, that’s not okay at all. During this, the baby will be lethargic and tired and will tend to sleep more or longer. As in every sickness, during jaundice too, your little one needs to sleep and rest more. But to a limit.
Being a conscious parent is really important during this time as you need to make sure they are fed on time and schedule. Just because your baby is ill doesn’t mean you let them sleep for more extended periods of time.
Depending on how old they are, you need to make sure they eat on time. Especially if they are of an age where they haven’t learned to communicate yet, you need to wake them up and feed them.
Make sure your baby is hydrated and well-fed then you can put them back to sleep. If not, they might be irritated and cry a lot.
Symptoms of Jaundice in Babies
To help you understand more about jaundice, below is a list of common symptoms seen in babies with jaundice to help you get a better understanding of their situation and recognize it as early as possible.
- Yellow tinge of the skin, in moderate jaundice
- Yellow tinge in the white part of their eyes
- Sleepiness, lethargy, or drowsiness
- Palms and soles of their feet turning yellow in severe jaundice
- Difficulty in feeding
- In some cases, light-colored feces and dark urine.
- Newborn babies will appear to have jaundiced when they have more than 5 mg/dl of bilirubin in their blood.
- Older children will appear to have jaundiced when they have more than 2 mg/dl of bilirubin in their blood.
Cause of Jaundice in Babies
Several reasons can cause jaundice in babies, but here we are to discuss the leading cause, which is elevated bilirubin levels, also called Physiologic Jaundice. Bilirubin is a waste product of the body’s breakdown of old and damaged red blood cells. It is processed and removed by the liver.
Jaundice in your baby might develop when your baby’s liver cannot remove the bilirubin from the system efficiently. So it is expected that every newborn has elevated bilirubin levels, and around 60 percent of full-term babies will have noticeable symptoms.
As your baby begins to grow, the red blood cells start to lower down. This jaundice will start diminishing too.
Your newborn should be okay within 2 weeks. If symptoms still persist, immediately seek advice from your doctor.
Treating Jaundice at Home
To be clear, as long as it’s mild jaundice, it can be treated at home with love and care. A few of the tips below might help you take care of your little one with mild jaundice and nurse them back to health.
- You can start by placing your baby in sunlight for ½ an hour daily. Don’t put your little one under direct sunlight. Place them near a well-lit window that could help.
- If your baby’s bilirubin level is too high, they need to be placed under a particular type of light, called phototherapy. With the help of a doctor, you can decide to either go for it or not.
- You should also frequently feed your baby. It will help eliminate the bilirubin level from their bloodstream. They might be really sleepy, so as we discussed, wake them up and feed them frequently.
- There is a fruit called Ziziphus jujuba. It reduces the bilirubin level in the blood by flushing it out. Give 1 ml of the extract of this fruit, although you should consult your doctor beforehand to discuss if this is okay for your little one.
- You could also give carrot and spinach juices a try, extract their juice, and give a few drops to your baby.
- You could also try sugarcane juice, giving it 2-3 times a day to your baby.
- Wheatgrass juice is another option, and you can give it to your baby by adding it to the milk.
These are just some of the remedies, which depend it will benefit your baby or not. Do consult your doctor before trying anything you are not sure about. Newborns usually only intake breastmilk or formula milk, so giving them anything aside from that requires a bit of precaution and guidance from your baby’s pediatrician.
What should a Mother eat?
It is crucial that you also take care of your diet, as you will be feeding your baby and what you eat directly affects how healthy a feed you are getting.
- Especially keep yourself well hydrated. Water helps ease digestion and helps flush out toxins, and your feed will be good for the baby.
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables. There are a lot of green vegetables and fruits that are beneficial for a liver condition. Since you can’t feed solid food to your baby, whatever you eat goes into your feed.
- Whole grain contains liver-friendly nutrients, including healthy fats, fibers, antioxidants, and minerals.
- Nuts and legumes are rich in fiber and healthy fats and rich antioxidants.
- Lean proteins, including tofu, are also good for the liver.
Other Causes of Jaundice in Babies
While bilirubin is a significant cause of jaundice in babies, other reasons cause jaundice in babies.
- When a baby is born, just after childbirth, the mother’s breast produces small amounts of colostrums in the first few days. Until proper feeding starts, this kind of feeding may affect the baby’s liver, causing breast milk jaundice. This only lasts a couple of weeks, just continue regular feeding, and it should diminish.
- When the baby and mother’s blood groups are different, that can also cause jaundice. In this case, the mother’s body produces antibodies that can attack the baby’s red blood cells during pregnancy. This means, later on, high levels of red blood cells need to be eliminated from the body. The baby may be born anemic and develop jaundice within hours.
- There’s also a case where a baby’s immune system destroys their red blood cells due to an inherited disorder. It can again happen due to other diseases like sepsis.
Jaundice does make your little one sleepier than usual. Just as all illnesses do, so does happen in jaundice that your baby might need to sleep or take more naps than usual. As a parent, you should take care that your baby by making they don’t sleep for long for a certain period of time. Keep waking your baby in between to feed them and keep them well hydrated too.
Besides that, we have also discussed some remedies that could help you treat mild jaundice in your baby and quickly recover them. Remember, not everything might work for you, so you shouldn’t get discouraged. If you are not sure about something, do consult with your doctor. You have got this, and in no time, your baby will come back to their health.