Fecal bilirubin excretion and serum bilirubin concentrations in breast-fed and bottle-fed infants

J Pediatr. 1985 Nov;107(5):786-90. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(85)80418-2.


To assess the rate of excretion of bilirubin in the stools and its effects on serum bilirubin concentrations, we studied 24 breast-fed and 13 bottle-fed infants during the first 3 days after birth. Bottle-fed infants passed significantly more stool (3-day totals, 82 vs 58 gm, P less than 0.001), excreted more bilirubin (3-day totals, 23.8 vs 15.7 mg, P less than 0.05), and had lower serum bilirubin values (day 3, 6.8 vs 9.5 mg/dl, P less than 0.02). Among the breast-fed infants, greater stool output was associated with greater fecal bilirubin excretion (r = 0.56, P less than 0.05) and lower serum bilirubin concentrations (r = 0.66, P less than 0.001). Our data suggest that hyperbilirubinemia in breast-fed infants may be related to a delay in bilirubin clearance resulting from low stool output.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bilirubin / metabolism*
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Defecation
  • Feces / analysis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant Food*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Jaundice, Neonatal / etiology*
  • Jaundice, Neonatal / metabolism
  • Male
  • Time Factors


  • Bilirubin