Jaundice results from the natural breakdown of red blood cells in the body producing bilirubin. It is normal for babies to look slightly yellow 2 to 4 days after birth. Sometimes babies need to be put under special "phototherapy" lights to help the baby get rid of the bilirubin. A baby's yellowish colour should disappear within 9 to 12 days.

Call your doctor or midwife if your baby:

  • has yellowish skin before 2 days old
  • has yellowish skin after 10 days old
  • if breastfeeding, does not feed 8 times a day
  • if formula feeding, does not feed 6 times a day
  • seems sleepy all the time, even during feeds
  • has less than 6 to 8 wet diapers a day