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Symptoms of jaundice in newborn babies

Get your baby checked by your GP, midwife or public health nurse if you think they have jaundice.

Mild jaundice

Your GP, midwife or public health nurse will examine your baby. If the jaundice is mild, they will ask you to:

  • feed your baby frequently
  • wake your baby for feeds

They will examine your baby again in 24 to 38 hours. Contact them immediately if your baby develops any of the signs of severe jaundice.

Severe jaundice

Your baby may have severe jaundice if they appear yellow and have any of the following symptoms:

  • not waking for feeds
  • being irritable or crying a lot
  • losing weight or not gaining weight
  • vomiting
  • not pooing
  • not wetting at least 4 nappies over 24 hours
  • peeing a very dark colour
  • doing poos that are are very pale in colour

Go to your GP or maternity hospital immediately if you think your baby has severe jaundice

There is a small chance of brain damage if severe jaundice is not treated.

Your baby is more likely to get severe jaundice if:

  • they are less than 24 hours old
  • they were born premature
  • you've had another child with severe jaundice

Page last reviewed: 17/05/2019
Next review due: 17/05/2022