When all babies are born they have an excess of red blood cells which their body breaks down after birth. This breakdown produces a yellowish substance in the blood called Bilirubin. The liver converts the bilirubin into a form that the body can easily get rid of. This is a process that happens in a large degree at birth and also carries on throughout our lives. Sometimes the newborn liver has problems coping with the large amount of bilirubin and it builds up in the blood. This build up causes a yellow ting to the skin, your baby might look like she has a great suntan. Jaundice is not just a premmie problem, full term babies and a person with liver problems can also develop jaundice
Jaundice is diagnosed by blood tests measuring the amounts of Bilirubin. If the levels are high the doctor will treat your baby’s jaundice with bright lights over his cot. These lights are often referred to a Bililights and a baby with jaundice will be kept under the lights until the body has had a chance to break down the excessive bilirubin. Your baby may be under these lights for a few days or over a week but be assured your baby’s doctor is constantly monitoring the levels and will remove the lights once he is satisfied that the levels are down and will stay down. There is occasions when the lights are turned off because the levels have gone down but have the lights are returned because the levels of bilirubin rebound.
While the lights are on a cover is placed over the baby’s eyes to protect them from the bright lights. Some parents find that upsetting not being able to see their baby’s eyes but remember it is for your baby’s protection and it is not for a long time. In most cases your baby will left without a nappy to gain maximum exposure to the lights.
The primary aim of PIPA is to provide practical and emotional support to the parents and families of premature infants. However we do not offer professional advice. We are parents of preterm baby’s and not medical staff. We do offer understanding, support, encouragement and friendship.