Jaundice in Newborns

Q. Can you give me the latest information on what the acceptable levels of jaundice are for a newborn before they need to be on bili lights? Our last doctor had our baby on the bili lights at home for levels of 17-18 but I have heard that that has changed. I’m currently pregnant and would love to successfully breastfeed and I think staying away from the lights would help.

A. Healthy full term babies are probably not threatened by bilirubins under 30 or more.

There has been a recent news release about the dangers of jaundice and it is filled with some of the worst science reportage I have seen in a long time. If your new baby is born near term, healthy, breastfeeding well and looking good, there is no need to draw blood and certainly no need to worry about a day three bili of 18. Jaundice can be a sign of poor breastfeeding and warrants attention not blood tests!