Jaundice is very common in newborn babies. About 60% of full-term babies and 80% of premature babies develop jaundice in the first week of life. Jaundice reaches its peak at about four days of life and then gradually disappears in most babies by the time they are two weeks old. Some babies may need more help to feed effectively and may need treatment for their jaundice. Jaundice does not necessarily mean your baby is ill. 

Jaundice can occur within the first 24 hours after birth, but this is rare. If this happens it is important that a Neonatal Doctor sees your baby. Normally this will not be a problem as you will still be in hospital. 

If your baby is at home, it is important you tell your midwife or doctor.

Please ensure that your baby is feeding effectively:

A sleepy baby should be woken for feeds as this will help reduce the jaundice and prevent excessive weight loss. New babies should have a minimum of 8 feeds every 24 hours. Please always discuss with your midwife if your baby is sleepy so that the midwife can assess your baby overall and assess feeding. Your midwife will then help put a plan in place. This should not be delayed.

You can find out more about infant feeding here.

This leaflet will help you to:

  • Understand what jaundice is and what causes it
  • Why treatment is important for some babies
  • Understand normal wet and dirty nappies / colours

Click here for the leaflet.

For further information please see:

This is the NCT information - https://www.nct.org.uk/baby-toddler/your-babys-health/what-watch-out-for/what-newborn-jaundice-and-what-look-out-for

This is the NHS information - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/jaundice-newborn/