Breastfeed adequately to prevent infant jaundice — Paediatrician

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A Consultant Paediatrician, Dr Luke Ogeruo, on Monday advised mothers to breastfeed their infants between eight and 12 times per day to boost their immunity and prevent them from contracting jaundice.

Ogeruo, who works in St. Kizito Hospital, Isuaniocha, Awka North Local Government Area, gave the advice in Awka.

He said that for the first several days of life, an infant should be breastfed every two to three hours to prevent jaundice.

According to him, the complete system for feeding infants should have about 30 to 60 millilitres of formula every two to three hours.

“Infant jaundice is a yellow discolouration on a newborn baby’s skin and eyes which occurs because the baby’s blood contains an excess of Bilirubin.

“Bilirubin is the yellowish pigment of the red blood cells found in bile and made by the liver.

“Infant jaundice is a common condition, particularly in babies born before 38 weeks gestation period (pre-term babies).

“Infant jaundice usually occurs because a baby’s liver is not matured enough to get rid of bilirubin in the bloodstream. Excess Bilirubin is the substance that caused the yellow colour of jaundice,” he said.

Ogeruo said that jaundice usually appeared on the second or third day of the baby’s life.

“But with adequate breastfeeding, the child`s immune system will be strengthened to help get rid of the Bilirubin before it causes the condition,” he said.

Ogeruo noted that in some cases, an underlying disease might also cause jaundice in infants.

He said the diseases or conditions that could cause jaundice included internal bleeding (haemorrhage) or an infection in baby’s blood (Sepsis).

“Other causes are viral or bacterial infections; an incompatibility between the mother’s blood and that of the baby; liver malfunction; an enzyme deficiency or an abnormality of baby’s red blood cells,” he added.