Jaundice is a condition that is very common amongst asian babies. It can be identified by a yellow tinge on the skin that is caused by high levels of bilirubin in the baby. However, visual inspection normally don’t yield reliable results, so the most objective measure is for baby to take a blood test which requires pricking of the heel. It is so heartbreaking to see baby cry when the nurse pricks her heel to get the blood samples.
Baby1 had a high jaundice score (low=good) on the 4th day and so was required to stay an extra day at the hospital to undergo the phototherapy session. We decided to extend our hospital stay by 1 day too to accompany her. The next day, her jaundice level was down and she was able to come home with us. 10.1
Two days later, we were required to visit the hospital again to repeat the jaundice test. Alas, it went up again despite us sunning her in the mornings and evenings. But luckily, it wasn’t over the threshold of 15 and Baby1 did not need to be admitted to phototherapy again. 14.1
Two days later, yet again, we had to visit the hospital to repeat the jaundice test. The level went up again despite our continuous sunning. But it was just shy of the threshold, luckily. At that point, the nurse recommended renting a home phototherapy kit which costs around $350 for 3 days. However, the doctor recommended continued sunning instead, luckily. 14.5
Back home, we were feeling the strain of having to drive all the way to TMC just to do a simple jaundice test. Couldn’t it be done at the polyclinic which is just 10 minutes away from our house? Turns out that it can be done, just that the nurse at the baby clinic didn’t inform us of the alternative. But our next repeat jaundice test was to be scheduled on the Chinese New Year holidays and polyclinics are closed. So no choice for us, it’s back to TMC one more time.
We sunned baby furiously over the next few days in the morning between 8am to 10am and afternoon between 5pm and 6pm. There were other non-conventional methods recommended by the old folks and other hearsay, such as letting baby drink water boiled using 7 (yes, seven!) red dates, bathing baby in stout (yes, the alcoholic drink!), feeding baby with filtered goats milk, etc. But we wasn’t going to believe such things. For us, we just followed the doctor’s advice, sunning under indirect sunlight for 10-15mins, front and back.
Four days later, we visited the hospital to repeat the jaundice test. No choice, it was a public holiday and we had to pay $50 surcharge on top of the $8 for the test itself. Baby1 was asleep while the heel prick was being performed. She winced, but didn’t cry, yeah! We waited 15 minutes for the result… It dropped! What a relief. We called our baby doctor over the phone and he advised that we continue sunning Baby1 for the next 3-4 days, but we do not need to repeat anymore jaundice tests. 12.5
For the past few days, Baby1 fluctuated from pink to slight yellow colour. The weather was bad and we couldn’t sun her effectively during the golden hours. We’ll keep up the sunning efforts and hopefully baby’s jaundice will continue to improve.