|Can it be true that breastfed babies are more susceptible
Yes it is true. The level of bilirubin in breastfed babies
is higher than that in babies fed on formula from the start.
This increased level of bilirubin can persist for up to
six weeks, but is not a reason to stop breastfeeding.
The temptation to supplement the breastfed baby with water
or glucose water is not a good idea, as it seems to raise
the bilirubin levels even higher. In addition it is vital
to breastfeed regularly during these early days in order
to get feeding established. If possible, feeding the baby
immediately after birth can reduce the severity of the jaundice.
There are a very tiny number of babies for whom breastfeeding
causes a serious problem concerning jaundice. Usually they
develop jaundice later than other babies, after a week or
so of life. It is possible that some breastmilk contains
a substance that slows the breakdown of bilirubin. If this
is the case you and your doctor will be carefully monitoring
the situation and your doctor may suggest a variety of treatments,
which may include formula supplementation for a limited
amount of time until the jaundice clears.