Infant jaundice is a common condition for infants, and actually about 70% of newborns show some signs of it. Most infant jaundice treatments are simple and can be done easily at home. Only in rare instances is aggressive jaundice treatment necessary.
Susun Weed in the Childbearing Year has an excellent section on infant jaundice and treatments for it. Below I will summarize her excellent suggestions.
Infant jaundice is a condition which shows up as a yellow hue to the whites of the infants eyes and a yellow cast to the skin starting on the baby’s head and moving down to the toes.
Jaundice occurs as a result of the breakdown of extra red blood cells associated with the transition form your fetus receiving oxygen from your placenta to supplying her/his own oxygen. Bilirubin is a by-product of this breakdown process, and when it is reabsorbed and circulates it tints the skin and eyes yellow.
CAUTION: A bilirubin level of 12 or more which continues to increase after the third day and a baby that is dehydrated and lethargic is an indication of pathological jaundice. This is a condition could be related to blood group incompatibility or a damaged liver and the help of an experienced professional healer is very likely necessary for effective infant jaundice treatments in this case. If untreated this type of infant jaundice can lead to brain damage.
The two other types of infant jaundice, physiologic jaundice and breast milk jaundice require little to no treatment and will disappear within a few weeks on their own. There are some simple infant jaundice treatments you can use to support your baby through this time.
The first is simply nursing. Even in the case of breast milk jaundice, your milk helps with the build up of intestinal bacteria that assist with the binding and excreting of the broken down red blood cells. Also the extra protein in the milk protects the brain from damage while the bilirubin level is high.
Sunlight will also help break down the bilirubin. So another effective infant jaundice treatment is to undress your baby and, while shading her eyes, give her a sun bath in the early morning or late afternoon sun for five minutes.
If breastfeeding, the mother can also drink infusions of one of several herbs as an infant jaundice treatment. The baby will then receive the benefits of the herbs through the breast milk. Recommended herbs to try are catnip, comfrey leaf, agrimony or dandelion root.
The standard ratio for infusions is one ounce of dried herb to one quart of water and this brew is left to steep for at least four hours before being strained and drunk. Dandelion root infusion is bound to be bitter, and Susun Weed recommends adding salt to make it a more tolerable drink.
Cheladonium 3x is the recommended homeopathic infant jaundice treatment. Be sure to use this only homeopathically, not in herbal form.
Breast milk jaundice is very rare and its symptoms include yellow skin and eyes, a bilirubin level of up to 20, and an active, nursing baby. It is thought that the steroids in breast milk sometimes inhibit the enzymes that break down the red blood cells. This type of jaundice can last for as long as two months.
As long as your baby is active and nursing strongly there is no need to be overly concerned, and definitely NO NEED TO STOP BREASTFEEDING. This condition will work itself out without switching to formula and removing the nurturing closeness of breast-feeding can actually complicate the infant jaundice.
If you suspect breast milk jaundice you can stop breastfeeding for a short period of time (no longer than 48 hours) to see if the bilirubin level drops without breast milk. This is not a recommended infant jaundice treatment, but rather a test to determine if this is what you are dealing with.
Treat breast milk jaundice with the infant jaundice treatments described above or try increasing the enzymatic activity in your baby’s liver and intestines with fresh wheat grass juice. Give baby as much as 20 drops daily or pass it on through your milk by drinking up to two ounces daily.
So, if your baby shows the common symptoms of yellow tinted eyes and skin first rule out pathological jaundice and then take a deep breath and relax, knowing that the only real infant jaundice treatment necessary is the measures you choose to support your infant while he/she breaks down and processes those extra red blood cells.