Q. Can breastfeeding cause jaundice?

Answered by
Dr. Deepak Patel
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jun 03, 2016 and last reviewed on: Oct 09, 2018

Hi doctor,

Our baby is 16 days old and is suffering from jaundice. Both mom and son have same B positive blood group. TSH level is normal and vitamin D oral drop is given. I have attached the bilirubin test report for your reference. Does breastfeeding affect jaundice in any way? Please advise us. Thank you.



Welcome to

I have seen the reports that you have attached (attachment removed to protect patient identity).

  • It is day 16 of the baby. Bilirubin levels have increased to 15 and it is mainly indirect bilirubinemia.
  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone levels are normal, so hypothyroidism is not the cause of jaundice. G6PD (glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase) is also normal.
  • Jaundice can be due to breastfeeding. Breastfeeding jaundice could be of two types. One is breastfeeding jaundice, which occurs due to insufficient feeding and the second one is breast milk jaundice, which occurs due to substance like pregnanediol in milk.
  • I think that your doctor must have advised to stop breastfeeding for some time, I also think that breastfeeding should be withheld for a few days and top milk should be given.
  • Bilirubin levels should be done weekly. If bilirubin levels do not fall, then we have to check for torch infection.

Revert back with the report to a paediatrician online -->

Thank you doctor,

We checked for pregnanediol test. Now, this is clear that the jaundice is caused by breastfeeding. How severe will it be when compared to other jaundice? What is the normal duration of this kind of jaundice? I have attached the reports. Also, the baby's stools are greenish in color. Why?



Welcome back to

I have seen the attached reports (attachment removed to protect patient identity).

  • It is usually seen that the jaundice decreases as the child grows. If levels are this much high, then there are less chances of any future problems.  
  • The duration cannot be predicted, sometimes it may take up to two months to recover. Most cases respond till one and a half months of age.  
  • But, if jaundice increases over time, then chance of future problems is there like brain injury. In this type of jaundice, high levels of bilirubin are rarely seen.
  • I suggest you not to worry so much, because it is usually seen and in most cases jaundice decreases.
  • Weekly bilirubin levels should be done and a charting of all values with date should be done for easy comparison.
  • Mother's thyroid levels are normal and progesterone levels have no significance in jaundice in newborn.
  • Pregnanediol levels are seen in breast milk and it is not done in every laboratory.
  • Greenish stools are a normal thing in babies and it is not related to jaundice.
  • Greenish stools occur due to less transit time of milk in the intestine due to which the bile is not removed properly. Take care.

For further information consult a paediatrician online -->

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