Hyperbilirubinemia - breast-feeding
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Bilirubin is a yellow pigment that is created as the body gets rid of old red blood cells. The liver helps break down bilirubin so that it can be removed from the body in the stool.
If jaundice occurs or persists past the first week of life in an otherwise healthy and thriving breast-fed infant, the condition may be called "breast milk jaundice." It is probably caused by factors in the breast milk, which block certain proteins in the liver that break down bilirubin.
Breast milk jaundice tends to run in families. It occurs equally often in males and females and affects approximately 0.5% to 2.4% of all newborns.
Review Date: 05/27/2009
Reviewed By: Benjamin W. Van Voorhees, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics and Psychiatry, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL. Review Provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.