How Long Does It Take for Breast Milk Jaundice to Go Away?

Breast milk jaundice is a common condition in newborns, causing yellowing of the skin and eyes due to high levels of bilirubin. Parents often wonder how long it takes for breast milk jaundice to go away, seeking answers and reassurance for their little one’s health.

Breast milk jaundice typically resolves on its own within two to three months from the time it first appears. However, there are factors that can influence the duration, such as the baby’s overall health and feeding habits. Understanding the timeline for breast milk jaundice to disappear can help alleviate concerns and provide peace of mind for parents.

What Causes Breast Milk Jaundice?

Breast milk jaundice is a common condition that occurs in newborns, typically appearing a few days after birth. Unlike other forms of jaundice, breast milk jaundice is not typically a cause for concern and is not associated with any underlying liver issues.

The exact cause of breast milk jaundice is not entirely understood, but it is believed to be related to substances in the breast milk that can interfere with the liver’s ability to break down bilirubin, a yellow pigment produced when red blood cells are broken down.

It’s essential to note that breast milk jaundice is different from breastfeeding jaundice, which can occur when a newborn is not receiving enough breast milk. Breastfeeding jaundice typically resolves once the baby starts feeding adequately.

Symptoms of Breast Milk Jaundice

When it comes to breast milk jaundice, there are several symptoms parents should be aware of. The most common symptom is yellowing of the skin and eyes due to elevated levels of bilirubin in the blood. Other symptoms may include lethargy, poor feeding, and dark urine.

It’s important for parents to monitor their newborn for these symptoms and consult with a healthcare provider if they notice any signs of jaundice. In most cases, breast milk jaundice will resolve on its own within 2-3 weeks as the baby’s liver matures and is able to process bilirubin more effectively.

If jaundice persists beyond 3 weeks, further evaluation may be needed to rule out any other underlying issues. Remember that breast milk jaundice is typically harmless and does not require any specific treatment.

Diagnosis and Treatment Options

If your baby is showing signs of jaundice caused by breast milk, your doctor may suggest a bilirubin test to confirm the diagnosis. In most cases, breast milk jaundice subsides on its own without the need for treatment. However, if levels are high or if jaundice persists beyond two weeks, your doctor may recommend phototherapy to help break down the excess bilirubin. This treatment involves exposing your baby’s skin to special blue lights that help eliminate the excessive bilirubin.

Factors Affecting Recovery Time

The time it takes for breast milk jaundice to go away can vary depending on several factors. Feeding patterns play a significant role, with frequent feedings helping to flush out the excess bilirubin more quickly. Additionally, your baby’s overall health and ability to process bilirubin can affect recovery time. Getting enough sunlight can also be beneficial, as natural light helps break down bilirubin. Staying hydrated and ensuring your baby is well-nourished can also aid in a speedier recovery. Remember to consult with your doctor to monitor your baby’s progress and ensure appropriate care.

Monitoring Your Baby’s Progress

Wondering how to keep an eye on your baby’s jaundice levels as they recover? The key is to monitor their skin tone and behavior. Make sure to check if the yellow color is fading gradually, starting from the head down to the feet. Keep an eye on your baby’s feeding habits – a well-fed baby is more likely to recover faster. Additionally, follow up with your pediatrician for regular check-ups to track progress and ensure proper treatment. Remember, each baby is unique, so trust your instincts and seek professional guidance when needed.

Tips for Managing Breast Milk Jaundice

Here are some practical tips to help manage your baby’s breast milk jaundice and support their overall well-being: 1. Ensure Proper Feeding: Continue breastfeeding your baby frequently every 2 to 3 hours to help flush out the bilirubin causing jaundice. 2. Sunlight Exposure: Place your baby in indirect sunlight for short periods each day to help break down the bilirubin in the skin. 3. Hydration: Ensure your baby is well-hydrated by feeding them regularly. Adequate fluids can help eliminate bilirubin from their system. 4. Consult a Lactation Consultant: Seek advice from a lactation consultant to ensure a proper latch and effective breastfeeding technique. 5. Relax and Stay Positive: Remember, breast milk jaundice is typically harmless and tends to resolve on its own with time. Stay positive and calm, and trust the process.

For additional support and information on managing breast milk jaundice, you can also consult the American Academy of Pediatrics’ resource on breastfeeding and jaundice here.

When to Seek Medical Help

If your baby is showing signs of breast milk jaundice beyond the typical two-week timeframe, or if the jaundice appears severe, it’s crucial to seek medical attention promptly. Look out for warning signs such as yellowing of the skin or eyes, lethargy, poor feeding, or high-pitched crying. These could be indications of a more serious underlying condition that requires medical intervention. Remember, it’s better to err on the side of caution and have your baby evaluated by a healthcare professional if you have any concerns about their health.

Myths and Facts About Breast Milk Jaundice


  1. Myth : Breastfeeding causes jaundice.

    • Fact: Breast milk jaundice is a common condition unrelated to breastfeeding practices. It usually resolves on its own without any harm to the baby.
  2. Myth : Jaundice is always dangerous for newborns.

    • Fact: While jaundice can be a cause for concern, breast milk jaundice is typically a benign condition that clears up on its own over time.
  3. Myth : Switching to formula will cure breast milk jaundice.

    • Fact: Switching to formula is not necessary to treat breast milk jaundice, as it does not affect the condition.
  4. Myth : Phototherapy is always required for breast milk jaundice.

    • Fact: In most cases of breast milk jaundice, phototherapy is not needed and the jaundice will resolve naturally.

Remember, if you have any doubts or questions about your baby’s health, always consult with your pediatrician for personalized guidance.

(Source: American Academy of Pediatrics)

  • Alex Mitch

    Hi, I'm the founder of! Having been in finance and tech for 10+ years, I was surprised at how hard it can be to find answers to common questions in finance, tech and business in general. Because of this, I decided to create this website to help others!