Click on the photo to learn more about your baby's first week at home
Jaundice or the condition of a newborn baby due to a build up of bilirubin in the blood, is commonly treated by phototherapy. Phototherapy is considered as one of the most effective treatments for newborn jaundice these days. It is non-invasive and it is easy and convenient to use. Phototherapy involves exposing the baby’s skin to light waves. With the use of special fluorescent lights, light waves are absorbed into the skin that help the body break down bilirubin in the blood. This is why the baby is undressed with only the diapers on and the baby’s eyes are covered and protected with a mask. Once bilirubin is broken down, it is passed through the excretory system and is eliminated. This process produces the greenish stool of your baby as well as the frequent and loose bowel movements.
Click here to read about the causes of newborn Jaundice
Treatment of Jaundice
This treatment can be done in a hospital or at home. Singaporean hospitals such as the Singapore General Hospital, National University Hospital, and Kandang Kerbau (KK) Hospital are using phototherapy in treating infant patients with jaundice. Phototherapy in a hospital can cost approximately S$800-1000 depending on the severity of your baby’s jaundice.
Since not everyone can afford the cost of hospital treatment, home phototherapy is an alternative option. This home treatment is less expensive and is also as effective as hospital treatment especially if the bilirubin level is not too high or the jaundice is not severe. The phototherapy equipment rental fee can cost between S$209-399 for 3 days and 2 nights depending on the equipment you would like to use.
There’s the Medela Bilibed and the Phototherapy Lamp which you can check out from The Baby Specialist website: www.thebabyspecialist.com.sg. The length of the treatment period will depend on your baby’s condition but just imagine how much you can save if you have phototherapy at home.
When your baby is having home phototherapy, it is important that you should follow the instructions in using the equipment. First of all, you should consult your doctor as to the lenght of treatment time and make sure to regularly visit your doctor for tests until your baby is completely treated. It is not at all a replacement for the doctor visits and tests needed to check your baby’s bilirubin levels.
Phototherapy Lamp courtesy of wn.com
When using the Phototherapy Lamp, switch on all the light switches and place the lamp at least 25 to 30 cm away from your baby. Place your baby on a firm mattress without any toy or pillow on it. Always put the mask on your baby’s face as this will serve as protection for your baby’s eyes.
When using the Bilibed, strap your baby underneath the cloth. Make your baby lie on his or her back or on his or her tummy with his or her head on the side. Change your baby’s position from time to time especially after every feeding. You should also check the baby’s temperature after every 4 to 6 hours.
While treating your baby with phototherapy at home, increase the fluid intake of your baby as phototherapy can cause dehydration especially that your baby will be having frequent and loose bowel movements as an effect of the breaking down of bilirubin. If you are breastfeeding your baby, then increase the number of times that you breastfeed. Make sure your baby also drink water.
Home Phototherapy has been proven effective in the United States as well as in other parts of the world. It is a better alternative to hospital treatment since the baby can be with the mother all the time while treatment is ongoing and breastfeeding can be continued. In fact, more Singaporean doctors have come to believe its effectiveness in treating newborn jaundice.
For related articles on your baby and jaundice, see:
Help! My baby has jaundice
What’s normal and what’s not in your newborn