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bilirubin levels of 21 in a 3 day old, doctor wants formula. Final update, breastmilk jaundice.

Posted by on Mar. 16, 2013 at 4:44 PM
  • 48 Replies

Final update!

So through the week, here levels rose, then fell, then fell a bit more, but were still hanging in the teens, She is acting 100% normal for an infant, right amount of poop. pee, and awake time.. so they also ordered a breastmilk jaundice test, and that is what it is.  They said its harmless since her numbers are stable in the teens and that she will just be a bit yellow for a while, but should clear up at around 6 weeks.  To keep nursing on demand, to get her some good sunlight, but that the bili light and daily bili tests are no longer needed.  Whoot whoot... I am happy.  When they said they wanted to test for breastmilk jaundice I was afraid that they were going to say stop breastfeeding and switch to formula, but thats not what happened, theys said that breastmilk jaundice is harmless in a healthy infant and that it just takes time to go away, and that formula would process it out faster, but its not necessary!

Update March 21


So they let us go home on Monday, here levels were at 16.  We go back in for another test today to make sure they are still dropping.  But she is doing good, I'm just soooo ready for her to be disconnected from that bulky machine!!

Now my question, she spits up a little here and there, totally normal.. except.. its bright yellow.  Now, none of my kids did that, they were all breast fed as well, and when they spit up it was alwayswhite.. so I'm not sure why she would be spitting up yellow... any suggestions?  Oh, and its not usually right after eating, its in between feedings.  And its liquid, and really doesn't look like there is any breast milk in it. 

Update, so we nursed and nursed and I kept her on the biliblanket, and her levels still went up, so we are in the nicu, but they are all good with me nursing her here, she is on the bili bed right now.  Even with her nursing as much as she wants, I'm still engorged to the point that I'm in pain.  I pumped off some and they gave it to her in a bottle, but lest then ten min later I was rock hard again... I've dealt with overactive let down before, and it seems  like its the issue again.  


Our baby girl (our 6th child) had a level of 9.9 when we left the hospital on Thursday afternoon, this morning it had risen to 21. 

So here are some stats on her

born 3-13-13, 7lbs .03 oz  ( today's weight 6lbs 12oz) 18 inches long (this is questionable as she measured 20 inches at the peds this morning... yeah, dont' think she grew 2 inches in 3 days)

Has a great latch, and is nursing frequently (less then every two hours, approx 15-45 min each time) 

Wed, 1 poopy, 2 wet diapers

 Thursday 4 poopy, 5 wet

Friday 6 poopy (last 3 transitioned to green), 8 wet

Saturday, so far 2 poopy (both yellow seedy), 4 wet. 

My milk came in late last night.  I pumped this afternoon when i got back from the doc to see my output, and it looks great, and I pumped 2oz off of each side (could have pumped more, but don't want to mess up my supply too much). 


Doctor almost sent her to the hospital for readmission, I was able to avoid that and was sent home witha bili blanket and orders to stop breastfeeding for 24 hours and supplement withformula.  I did not say yes or no to this treatment.  Now we put her on the blanket the second we got home, I am willing to pump and measure how much she is eating, but want to avoid formula.  if her levels do not drop by tomorrow they will want to admit her, which will cause a much more stressful situation for both me and baby.  What other measures can we take to ensure her levles are dropping.  I did grab some vit d infant drops at the store, but have not given any as I am still trying to find information on if this would even help. 


I should also add that she is normal in every way, diaper count is good, weight gain is good, and she has periods of alertness, she is a very enthusiastic nurser... everything indicates that she is healthy and normal, but 9.9-21 is a pretty big jump from thursday about noon to this morning about 10am. 


by on Mar. 16, 2013 at 4:44 PM
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by on Mar. 16, 2013 at 5:03 PM
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Get her in a window with sun. Keep her in a diaper and keep her there unless your nursing.
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by on Mar. 16, 2013 at 5:06 PM
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Dd ended up back in the hospital at 5 days old but her levels were even higher. They told me to give her formula but o refused I insisted on pumping since I was having trouble getting her to latch. She went home after a few days, and I didn't give her an ounce of formula that entire time especially since her diaper counts were up (they were low at home which they figured was that reason for the high levels) and she was eating a lot. I'm not one to disregard Dr's orders but in this case o felt like I was doing what was best for her. Good luck!
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by on Mar. 16, 2013 at 5:10 PM
I too had the same situation with my son and was advised to give formula by one pedi and was sent home with a bili blanket. I refused to give formula. My pediatrician the next morning agreed with me about formula and babies bilirubin begin coming down the next day. Good luck!
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by Bronze Member on Mar. 16, 2013 at 5:14 PM
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Oh momma, I think you need to stick to your guns. Get baby in a sunny window and nirse in a diaper. If she is admitted then still refuse the formula!! Its only going to cause more problems.
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by Bronze Member on Mar. 16, 2013 at 5:16 PM
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I would nurse as often as possible. That's what I did. Good luck
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by on Mar. 16, 2013 at 5:24 PM
A little sun or the jacket and keep nursing as much as possible. Breast milk goes through the system much faster than formula , even.the Dr should know that.
by on Mar. 16, 2013 at 5:26 PM

DD2 spent pretty much all day in the sun. Heat at max, room heated, and she sat naked in a sunny window for days.

Doctors are so quick to push formula. 

by Gina on Mar. 16, 2013 at 6:02 PM

Get in a sunny window, put baby to breast and LEAVE her there. No pumping, please... just leave her at the breast around the clock.

by Leanne on Mar. 16, 2013 at 6:06 PM
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Could the test be wrong?  Was it a blood draw, or a skin test?   It just doesn't seem possible for her to be pooping so much, be alert and have a billi level of 21.   Low levels made both of my boys super-duper sleepy

by on Mar. 16, 2013 at 6:09 PM

My son had to go in for the lights, but my doc was telling me the whole formula thing but sensitive to my desire not to all at the same time. We were happy to readmit and just have it taken care of. He was sleepy and visibly yellow at that point though. Hope your doc supports you and good luck. I heard the sunny window trick works wonders a lot of the time! 

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