Newborn Jaundice and How to Provide Support as a Doula

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Newborn jaundice is when a baby has a high level of bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is a yellow substance that the body creates when it replaces old red blood cells. The liver helps break down the substance so it can be removed from the body in the stool.

High levels of bilirubin make your baby’s skin and whites of the eyes look yellow. This is called jaundice.
National Library of Medicine

What to Do as a Doula

  • Make sure both mom and baby are eating/drinking well to ensure a good supply of breastmilk.
  • Assess fatigue in the mom.  Provide support overnight if needed, or provide time for her to nap during the day.
  • Assess breastfeeding. If there are issues, make sure the mom gets the help she needs. Look for local support groups.
  • With the involvement of the care provider, try natural methods of decreasing bilirubin levels.
  • Help her work through the loss of her ideal birth.

Education and Support

Make sure mom has all her questions answered and feels that she has been given enough information to make an informed decision.

Allow the mom to express any fears or anxieties she may have about the situation. Address any of these fears with more information or other ways of reducing anxiety. (Mindfulness works great in situations like these).

The mother may need extra support at home to focus on her breastfeeding relationship or if her newborn needs an extended stay in the hospital. A doula can help coordinate meals, help with housework, and childcare.

The mom may feel like she did something wrong and may need help and support understanding how she can help her infant at this time.

For more information see: http://www.uichildrens.org/childrens-content.aspx?id=233986

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