(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.