Babies, especially in their first few days of life, break red blood cells down faster but since their liver is not yet well developed enough to separate bilirubin, it gets carried along the bloodstream causing the yellow or orange color.
Other causes of infant jaundice or yellow baby include:
Breastfeeding jaundice occurs when the baby is not breastfeeding enough, leading to dehydration. This can occur if the baby has trouble breastfeeding or the mother’s milk has not “come in.”
When a mother’s breast milk has not “come in” yet, it means that there are still traces of colostrum. It takes about 2-5 days after the child’s birth before the mother’s milk matures. In this case, the baby has to be fed more.
Some enzymes in the breast milk prevent the liver from excreting bilirubin quickly causes the baby’s intestines to absorb bilirubin back to the body in higher amounts than normal breast milk jaundice is not harmful and may last up to 10 weeks.
Some babies are born with a mutation in their genes causing an autoimmune disease wherein the baby’s immune system attacks red blood cells or the baby’s red blood cells break down or don’t live as long as they normally should.
Blood Type Mismatch
Rhesus (Rh) and ABO blood group incompatibilities is an incompatibility wherein the mother’s blood is O and the baby’s blood is an A or B or the Rh factor of the mother’s blood is positive and the baby’s RH factor is negative. This causes the mother’s antibodies to attack the baby’s red blood cells.
A baby might have been exposed to a viral infection sometime before, during, and after birth and some of these viruses, such as hepatitis and rubella, can cause inflammation in the liver of the baby. This makes the baby’s liver unable to function well, causing jaundice.
Bile ducts allow bilirubin and other products to flow and be eliminated from the body. Biliary atresia is a disorder wherein the bile ducts are blocked or not fully developed, resulting in the bilirubin building up in the liver which then leads to infant jaundice.
Cephalohematoma is the accumulation of blood or bleeding under the scalp caused by a difficult delivery. The bruise can increase the levels of bilirubin in the bloodstream causing infant jaundice.
The baby may be born with a rare disorder wherein their bodies do not have enough enzyme that can break down galactose, a milk sugar. High levels of galactose in babies can cause liver damage which often manifests as jaundice.