Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 96:F461-F466 doi:10.1136/adc.2010.184416
  • Reviews

Understanding and managing breast milk jaundice

  1. Barbara L Philipp1
  1. 1Department of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Barbara L Philipp, Department of Pediatrics, Boston Medical Center, 850 Harrison Avenue, YACC-5, Boston, MA 02118–2392, USA; bobbi.philipp{at}
  • Accepted 2 June 2010
  • Published Online First 5 August 2010


The breastfed infant with prolonged unconjugated hyperbilirubinaemia can present a vexing clinical dilemma. Although it is a frequently observed and usually benign finding, prolonged jaundice in the breastfed newborn requires a thoughtful evaluation that excludes possible pathological aetiologies. While recommendations for the treatment of unconjugated hyperbilirubinaemia in the first 7 days of life are straightforward, the approach to the breastfeeding infant with jaundice that persists beyond the immediate neonatal period is less clearly delineated. A sound understanding of bilirubin physiology and familiarity with current literature must guide the management of the otherwise well breastfeeding infant with prolonged unconjugated hyperbilirubinaemia.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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