What is the prevalence of breast milk jaundice in the US?

Updated: Dec 07, 2017
  • Author: Prashant G Deshpande, MD; Chief Editor: Muhammad Aslam, MD  more...
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Jaundice occurs in 50-70% of newborns. Excess physiologic jaundice (bilirubin level >12 mg/dL) develops in 4% of bottle-fed newborns, compared to 14% of breastfed newborns. Exaggerated physiologic jaundice (bilirubin level >15 mg/dL) occurs in 0.3% of bottle-fed newborns, compared to 2% of breastfed newborns. [24]

A strong familial predisposition is also suggested by the recurrence of breast milk jaundice in siblings. In the exclusively breast fed infant, the incidence during the first 2-3 weeks has been reported to be 20-30%, [25]  although a more recent review indicates about 2-4% of exclusively breastfed infants have jaundice with bilirubin levels above 10 mg/dL in week 3 of life. [4]

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