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Treatment for jaundice in newborn babies

If your baby has jaundice, your GP or public health nurse will tell you if treatment is needed. Babies only need treatment if they have a high level of a chemical called bilirubin.

The main treatment for jaundice is phototherapy. This involves placing your baby under a light that helps to break down bilirubin. When their bilirubin level is low enough, you'll be able to take them home.

Your baby may need another blood test after their treatment has finished. This is to make sure their bilirubin level stays down.

It's important that your baby gets plenty of fluids if they have jaundice

You'll need to feed your baby every 3 to 4 hours during the treatment.

If your baby becomes dehydrated, they may need extra fluids through a drip. This is a small plastic tube placed into their arm, hand or foot. Fluids can be given into your baby's bloodstream using this tube.

Blood transfusions

Babies with very high bilirubin levels may need an 'exchange transfusion'. This is where a small amount of their blood is removed and replaced with matching donated blood.

page last reviewed: 17/05/2019
next review due: 17/05/2022