I still remember when Ayesha Amani was 5 days old, she was diagnosed for 'jaundice' by the house visiting nurse. I actually noticed that my baby has turned a little yellowish a few days before, but then my mom's lighting was all yellow so I thought it could be just that. I took this a little too lightly, yes because I didn't know that jaundice could be severe and that it can have a lifelong effect on my baby.
What is jaundice? It is the presence of yellowish tinge on your infant's body and sometimes the eyes. Amani was yellow all over including her both eyes.
So we waited and waited at the hospital. Amani went through daily blood check, 3 days of antibiotics, endless water drip and endless crying from both child and mom. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know how to deal with this. While undergoing phototheraphy, I was 'forced' to breastfeed my baby every now and then. No bottles were allowed at Kuala Lipis Hospital. If they see bottles, or formulas, you will be yelled at. It was crazy, everybody knew I had problem with breastfeeding then, which could be the main cause of Amani's jaundice. This is why I said FORCED. And my diet which my mom had developed consisting of ONLY and I repeat ONLY black pepper, salt and hot rice wasn't helping either. I cried and I cried in frustration. My hubby was only with us every now and then due to the strict rules of visiting hours. I had only myself to look after both of us.
After going through what I went through I thought it was useful if I had educated myself a little bit about the situation. It was useful if I had noticed the symptom. My baby cried a lot during her first few days, but come the 3rd days she was very quiet. She wouldn't feed, she won't move and she slept most of the time. She'd wake up if she was too hungry after 4 to 5 hours. She didn't wake up for milk at night. And I thought my baby was being a good girl. You would notice that if you pressed her skin lightly, it turns yellow and it takes a while to go back to normal.
What may be the causes
A newborn baby's liver is yet to mature and its inability to break down red blood cells which will lead to increase in bilirubin in its blood. Bilirubin is an orange or red pigment in the blood. The common causes are not enough liquid, mother's diet whih influences the breastmilk if the baby is breastfed, blood type. In Amani's case, I bet it was the low liquid because she just wouldn't breastfed and I had refused to give her formula. And as mentioned in previous para, it was my diet which includes NOTHING nutrition. Oh yeah if you had been to where I came from, you'll know what I mean.
One of the famous is phototherapy where infants are left under the lights with nothin on but diapers. They will cover her eyes, of course. I was also informed by the doctor to breastfeed more frequently, and the drip was suppose to help increase her fluid level as well. It will help more if she pee and pooped the yellow substances, so breastmilk is the best since it is easier to digest. I had trouble with breastfeeding so I pumped my breastmilk and bottle-fed her quietly. I dealt with the nipple confusion after we were out of the hospital because my mission at the time was to get us out. Being in the hospital was too painful for me. I left Amani under the lights longer than any mothers in the same ward. I didn't have the heart, of course, but neither do I have the heart to see her grow useless to her own self. I toughened up and she progressed quickly. DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT feed your baby anything else the elderly tells you to. Your baby is too young and her system is pretty much immature to digest anything other than breastmilk. You do not want to cause further damage!
Alhamdulillah, after the 5th days we were out of the hospitals. Though Amani's jaundice was prolonged (up to 1 months skin yellowing), I continued treating her at home with some lights, plenty of fluids and love. She has now passed that 1 year, and I hope she continues to grow healthily. I am not sure if I am able to cope anymore serious challenges. I hope Allah listens. I pray that my dear baby will continue to healthy and happy as she is!
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