What causes Jaundice?

Hours ago, the doctor diagnosed that the baby’s jaundice level is relatively high and thus, will need to stay in the hospital for observation and treatment. You’d heard the elders mentioned before that most baby’s get jaundice but you had no idea exactly what causes it. The eyes look yellowish and so is the whole body. And when you saw your baby crying in the plastic cradle, under the ultraviolet light, with no one attending to her, your heart ached and you cried. It gets worse if your MIL (or someone else) mentioned that it could be because of the curry that you ate a few days ago, or probably some carrots, papaya or what not. Stop. It’s not your fault at all. And you can ignore all those rubbish theory that whoever said it. They are just being uneducated.

So what is Jaundice and what causes it?

Jaundice is a term used to describe the yellow pigmentation of the skin. To simplify things, this is what happens:

When red blood cells break down in the body, it produces this byproduct called “bilirubin”. And the “bilirubin” is then being removed by the liver and then passed out from the body. But for newborns, as their liver is still not fully developed and functioning properly yet, thus the process of removing the “bilirubin” might not be as fast as it’s being produced. And when this happens, your baby will look yellowish because the amount of “bilirubin” is more, and why yellowish? It’s just simply because “bilirubin’ is yellow in colour!

That’s it. It has totally nothing to do with the food that you ate before you gave birth.

In olden days, why was it said that you can’t eat curry, carrots or papayas. It’s because all these food contains the yellow pigmentation, and when eaten in a great quantity, your skin will tend to look yellowish too. But really, that’s just the colour and had nothing to do with how the liver function.

As for the baby’s liver, I supposed I’ll pray that it functions fully soon so that it can get rid of those “bilirubin”. One relieving thing to note though. The babies might be crying under the ultraviolet light, but it’s not because they don’t feel well or are in pain. It’s purely because they are scare and uncomfortable – eyes covered, only in diapers. Babies… like to be all wrapped up, like they were in the womb…

*She must be quite pissed when we took this photo* -.-”’

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