Health Tip: Why My Baby's Skin Has a Yellow Tint

Causes of infant jaundice

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(HealthDay News) -- Jaundice occurs when a person's skin and whites of the eyes develop a yellowish tint. The cause is a buildup of a substance called bilirubin, which is produced by liver when it breaks down old red blood cells.

This can occur in newborns and young infants for a variety of reasons. Here are a few common causes of infant jaundice, courtesy of the Nemours Foundation:

  • The baby's liver may not yet be developed enough to remove bilirubin from the blood.
  • The liver overproduces bilirubin.
  • Too much bilirubin is being absorbed by the intestines before it can be passed in stools.
  • Substances in the mother's breast milk may increase bilirubin levels in her baby.

Jaundice usually isn't dangerous, but infants with the condition should be evaluated by a physician as soon as possible, the foundation advises.


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