Jaundice is a yellowish or pigmentation of the skin and whites of the eyes due to high bilirubin levels. It is common in newborns as their liver needs time to develop before they can expel the bilirubin from their bodies. It usually peaks from day 3-5 and newborns will be asked to go back to the hospital to take a blood test to check their bilirubin level. By KKH guidelines, bilirubin levels of above 300 will be admitted to hospital for Phototherapy, a process that can dissolves bilirubin in the body.
Most jaundice go away within a week or two. In rare cases, it can cause brain damage.
And this last sentence, is the reason why Baby C has been going back to the Polyclinic for blood tests. Over the course of two weeks, she has taken 5 blood tests and all the tests shows her level consistently high at an average of 280.
She feeds regularly, poos/urine normal, fuss and cries like all newborns do and sleeps by the window where she gets sunlight everyday and gained a healthy 400g since her birth. But at day 17, her level remained the same at 287. We were unhappy with the action taken at Polyclinic, which is to take blood test day by day to check the level without a proper diagnosis of what exactly is causing the jaundice to persist and what actions we can do to lower the levels.
We decided to seek a second opinion with the first PD who checked on Baby C.
And so, our PD suggested it could be due to breastmilk. No one knows the exact cause, but it seems that there is an element in breastmilk that hinders with the breakdown of bilirubin. Either that, or it could be all the chinese herbal soups that I had been taking during confinement. But we took more blood tests, to confirm that it is not due to other underlying conditions such as blood cells or thyroid.
After a couple of hours, the results came back and everything was fine. But her bilirubin level went up to 315. It was then my PD suggested for us to stop breastfeeding.
For the first time, Daddy E had to go buy formula milk.
And I wasn’t feeling good. For I try my best to latch my baby, wanting her to be healthy and strong, but it turned out to be the opposite. For I would never have thought, what I thought was best for her, turned out to be affecting her health.
And so I have been advised to stop breastfeeding for 3 days. After which we will take another blood test, to ensure that the levels has go down. It’s a strange feeling, not being able to feed my baby, and I could feel my supply dwindling tremendously even while I try to pump diligently. Pumping has never been helpful for me to empty the breasts.
Now I just hope Baby C recovers soon, to be a pink healthy baby.