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Supplementing with formula to treat jaundice?

(5 Posts)
HappyAsASandboy Tue 09-Nov-10 16:23:37


My twins are three weeks old tomorrow and have had mild jaundice since we came home at two days.

I've been exclusively breast feeding, and although they each lost just over 10% of their birth weight in the first 5 days, they were back at their birth weights by 2 weeks and 2 days.

The midwife has been very encouraging about breastfeeding, and up until now has said to just keep breast feeding on demand. However, she's now said to give them one formula feed per day, to get rid of the jaundice.

How can feeding formula once a day help with the jaunduce? Both babies are gaining a good amount of weight at the moment (DD gained 7oz in a week last week!) and are producing lots of wet and dirty nappies. I just can't see what the formula is going to do?

Does anyone have any idea why this might work?

ILikeToMoveItMoveIt Tue 09-Nov-10 16:27:28

I don't know for sure, so you may want to research this, but crudely speaking a higher volume of liquid (milk) will flush the jaundice (bilirubin) out of their systems.

However is the jaundice causing a problem or is it a cosmetic thing that will disappear in time? If it's the later than giving them a top up seems pointless as will probably compromise your supple - however I would speak to someone in the know, which probably isn't a MW.

wonderstuff Tue 09-Nov-10 16:28:20

Formula will get rid of the jaundice, but is not at all nessercery (sorry for spelling) If they are gaining good weight and producing wet and dirty nappies I would just carry on. My boy had jaundice for about 7 weeks. There is a theory that bilirubin kills free radicals and so mild jaundice can actually be a good thing...
IMO (and I am not medically trained or anything) giving formula at this stage could mess up your supply and the risk to your ability to successfully bf outweighs the risk of jaundice. My baby did have to have blood tests at 14days to rule out any liver problem, which is routine in my PCT.

pooka Tue 09-Nov-10 16:31:52

Also I read somewhere that with one type of jaundice the best thing is to breastfeed on demand because breastmilk stimulates the bowel, resulting in more bowel movements and a speedier clearance of the jaundice.

HappyAsASandboy Tue 09-Nov-10 16:43:19

Thanks for your prompt replies ... what you've said makes sense and further leads me to think that while thge formula may do no harm, it won't help much either. The miswife spoke as if there is some magic billirubin-busting ingredient in formula confused

I gave formula at one feed today (expressing to keep up my supply), but I think I'll give la leche / the NCT helpline a ring before I give any more.

To reassure you, they're not severly jaundiced - I can bearly see the yellow now, except when they're sleeping as they tend to go a little pale then.

Thanks for your speedy replies smile

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