One of our Breastmates mothers shares her experience of Jaundice and the “blue lit room”
The photo was taken when my baby was about 24 hours old, it was our second time coping with phototherapy and jaundice so we were better prepared for what was happening.
We first experienced NICU was when our first baby was 12 hours old. She was cold, iugr and showing signs of jaundice so we went to the neonates unit.
Though we were totally unprepared for the noise, lights, incubator and everything that went with it. And also unprepared for expressing breast milk!
When our second baby was born she also had jaundice, though we were a little more prepared. Breastmilk is the best for helping break down the bilirubin which causes Jaundice, so I was determined that I would feed her, and would sit for ages just feeding her so that she would get better.
Jaundiced babies are very sleeping so breastfeeding is harder, you have to stimulate them when feeding to keep them swallowing etc.
The photo that I’ve shared above was taken one evening when it was quiet. The lights they use for phototherapy are blue and baby has to spend as much time as possible under the lights with a mask over their eyes and just a nappy on. So in the evenings when all the other lights were dim, the room would be bathed in blue.
Neonates is scary and we coped better the second time. My advice for other mums is to ask for as much help as you can, and if you are having problems with breastfeeding get the lactation consultants to help.
I had cracked bleeding nipples both times we were in NICU, it hurt every latch, but Annette and Barbara were my life savers and it was because of their help that I was able to breastfeed bubs until she was 10 months (supplemented with formula), and bubs #2 for 11 months without formula.
Thankfully our third baby only got mild jaundice and didn’t need phototherapy – just laying on a blanket in the sun was enough treatment. I fed this baby for 14 months.
Our fourth baby didn’t get jaundice at all. I’m still breastfeeding her, and would like to get past 14 months.