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  • Writer's pictureLisa Chadsey

Jaundice in Infants - Recovery Through Light Therapy

This past month I was a guest speaker talking about Jaundice in infants & I wanted to share some of that work with anyone who wanted to learn more!

What is Infant Jaundice?

Infant jaundice is yellow discoloration of a newborn baby’s skin and eyes.

It occurs when the baby’s blood contains an excess of bilirubin, which is responsible for the yellow color of jaundice.

The yellow color of Jaundice is a normal part of the pigment released from the breakdown of “used” red blood cells.

How do babies get Jaundice?

Infant jaundice usually occurs because a baby's liver isn't mature enough to get rid of bilirubin in the bloodstream. In some babies, an underlying disease may cause infant jaundice.

Severe cases of unusually high blood level of bilirubin can place a newborn at risk of brain damage, particularly in the presence of certain risk factors for severe jaundice.

“About 50% of term and 80% of preterm babies develop jaundice, which usually appears 2 to 4 days after birth, and resolves spontaneously after 1 to 2 weeks. Most jaundice in newborn infants is a result of increased red cell breakdown and decreased bilirubin excretion.” (Article 2)

What are some of the symptoms of Jaundice in Babies?

According to the most current information from the Mayo Clinic, you’ll want to look for:

  • Listlessness

  • Difficulty waking

  • High pitched crying

  • Poor sucking or feeding

  • Backward arching of the neck and body

  • Fever

  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes

How can you check for infant Jaundice?

Information found through the Mayo Clinic:

  1. Press gently on your baby’s forehead or nose.

  2. If the skin looks yellow where you pressed, it’s likely your baby has mild jaundice.

  3. If your baby doesn’t have jaundice, the skin color should simply look slightly lighter than its normal color for a moment.

  4. Examine your baby in good lighting conditions, preferably in natural daylight.

How does light therapy help with Jaundice in Babies?

Since the late 1960s, light therapy has been used to treat anything from neonatal jaundice to psoriasis and other skin conditions.

Light therapy helps to break down bilirubin in the liver. The liver filters bilirubin from the bloodstream and releases it into the intestinal tract. Which also allows the kidneys to get rid of it via urine and stool.

Even beyond that, when exposed to red/near-infrared light energy, it simulates a photochemical reaction within the baby's mitochondria that increases ATP production and cell signaling. Basically giving the baby more energy to regulate itself and focus its efforts on healing.

Now, what does science say?

That light therapy has been an effective and powerful way to help infants with Jaundice (hyperbilirubinemia) for over 60 years.

“A breakthrough discovery 60 years ago by Cremer et al has since changed the way we treat infants with hyperbilirubinemia [Jaundice] and saved the lives of millions from death and disabilities.”

"Photobiology" [Low Level Light Therapy] uses the current “narrow-band blue light-emitting diode (LED) light (450-470 nm), which overlaps the peak absorption wavelength (458 nm) for bilirubin photoisomerization” has been one of the most effective tools. This is the exact type of light therapy that I use in my practice.

Exploring how we can care for new lives & precious babies is so essential. For the parents out there wanting safe & effective healing for their little ones, see how light therapy can help your body & brain!

No matter what it is that you are looking for, I know that we'll find a way to help you heal with light therapy!


If you want to learn more about Light Therapy & my Light Therapy work, you can follow me with the links below, or email me at - thank you for reading!

Instagram | Lightswithlisa

Facebook | Light Matters Therapy

Youtube | Lights With Lisa

Here are the articles I've referenced above:

Article 1.

Article 2.

If you liked this article you can also read:

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