BREAST-FEEDING AND JAUNDICE

A Review

Authors

  • Cynthia de Steuben RN, MS

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    • Cynthia de Steuben, rn, ms, is currently a student nurse-midwife at Yale University School of Nursing. She received her B.S.N. from Fitchburg (MA) State College in 1978 and her M.S. in parent-child nursing from Boston University in 1987. She is a member of NAACOG, Sigma Theta Tau, ANA, and the American College of Nurse-Midwives.


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ABSTRACT

Clinically apparent jaundice occurs in up to 60% of newborns in the first week after birth and represents a significant proportion of prolonged infant hospitalization, increased health care costs, and anxiety for new parents. An association between breastfeeding and hyperbilirubinemia has been suggested by various researchers; however, the results of the studies have been inconclusive. The association of breast-feeding and jaundice appears to be the result of incomplete excretion of meconium and a relative low caloric intake by some breast-fed infants. Management strategies that have been proposed include unlimited suckling, temporary discontinuation of breast-feeding, supplementation, and phototherapy.

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