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What is breastfeeding jaundice?

While technically not the same thing, the terms breastmilk jaundice and breastfeeding jaundice are frequently interchanged. “Breastfeeding jaundice” refers to the sometimes elevated levels of bilirubin seen in the first few days of life, thought to be due in large part to decreased fluid intake and delayed stooling until mother’s milk comes in. “Breastmilk jaundice” refers to the protracted jaundice (and, possibly, elevated levels of bilirubin) seen in exclusively breastfed infants at more than 1-2 months of age. In these otherwise healthy and thriving babies, their mothers’ breastmilk may contain substances known to prolong higher levels of bilirubin and requires no further investigation.

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