Neonatal jaundice and human milk

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2011 Oct:24 Suppl 1:85-7. doi: 10.3109/14767058.2011.607612.


Breastfeeding is linked both to a greater jaundice frequency and intensity in the first postnatal days ("breastfeeding jaundice") and to visible jaundice persisting beyond the first two weeks of life ("breast milk jaundice"), but the appearance of skin jaundice is not a reason for interrupting breastfeeding which can and should continue without any interruption in most cases. There have been numerous contributions to the literature, which have rescaled the direct role of breast milk, both in early jaundice and in the more severe cases of late jaundice. In fact, the reviewed guidelines for detection and management of hyperbilirubinemia underline, how prevention of badly managed breastfeeding and early support for the couple mother-child are effective prevention measures against severe early-onset jaundice; furthermore, the breastfeeding interruption is no longer recommended as a diagnostic procedure to identify breast milk jaundice because of its low specificity and the risk to disregarding the detection of a potentially dangerous disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Jaundice
  • Jaundice, Neonatal / etiology*
  • Jaundice, Neonatal / therapy
  • Milk, Human / physiology*