Tips for Breastfeeding a jaundice baby

It is not uncommon for babies to experience jaundice after birth. This is caused by a build-up of a substance called bilirubin in the blood and tissues of the body.  This can cause yellow pigment in the skin. Up to 60% of newborn babies can experience this problem.  However, only 10% are usually harmful. You can still breastfeed during this time.  Your breastmilk will help your baby to build up his immune system and fight off the jaundice. You should consult with your doctor or midwife during this period as you may need to suspend breastfeeding for 24-48 hours if your babys bilirubin levels are too high.


If your doctor or midwife has confirmed you are ok to breastfeed during this period, here are a few tips to assist you.

  1. Try to breastfeed with skin to skin contact. Your body temperature will warm your baby but not enough to put him to sleep
  2. Try to ensure that your babies position and attachment is correct. Ensure he is latching on correctly.
  3. Before you breastfeed, lightly rub your breast so that the colostrum (the first milk produced after childbirth containing immunoglobulin and good bacteria) wets your nipple. This will encourage your baby to latch on.
  4. Try to switch breasts during feeding so that your baby receives the maximum milk. Try to wind before switching breasts.

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