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Is my baby's bilirubin level normal?

Q: My 27 years old wife delivered a baby boy five weeks back. The baby developed jaundice at the time of birth and we gave him certain drops as medication. The bilirubin level in his blood is now 5 mg/dL. Is it normal? Can he be breast fed?

A:Neonatal jaundice within 2 to 5 days of delivery is quite common and normal. The usual levels of bilirubin in blood tests are 5 to 10 mg/dL. No medication is required. You have not given the name of the drops given to the baby. In severe cases (with levels in the range of 15 to 20 mg/dL), it is necessary to use phototherapy (i.e. expose the skin of infant to special rays (alternatively just sunlight is as good). You have not given the blood level of bilirubin initially when jaundice was noticed.

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