Breastfeeding myths uncovered – part 3

Myth: My baby was jaundiced and I had to supplement with formula.

Most jaundice is a normal newborn process experienced by approximately 60 percent of all healthy newborns and does not usually require formula supplementation, or for breastfeeding be interrupted.

In most cases, jaundice levels can be kept within normal range by initiating breastfeeding within the first hour of a baby’s birth, feeding the baby on demand, keeping the baby with mom during the hospital stay and lots of skin-to-skin contact. Breastfeeding needs to be effective, as the baby needs to take in colostrum and milk in to order to lower bilirubin levels.

There are risks if a baby is not latched well, as they are not getting enough milk. Babies born through high intervention births and late preterm infants may not nurse well initially, and should be watched closely. Phototherapy may be recommended to lower bilirubin levels. Most of the time, this does not mean the mother needs to stop breastfeeding or supplement with formula. Encourage the mother to ask for the lactation consultant in the hospital to lend her expertise and support. It is possible to lower bilirubin levels without formula supplementation.

Other myths that Michigan State University Extension can bust:

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