Breastfeeding in Relation to Neonatal Jaundice in the First Week after Birth: Parents' Perceptions and Clinical Measurements

Ya Wen Chiu, Shao Wen Cheng, Chun Yuh Yang, Yi Hao Weng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Parents may consider interrupting breastfeeding to manage neonatal jaundice (NJ). Our aims were to determine correlations of breastfeeding with NJ by examining infants' manifestations in the first week after birth and to understand parents' perceptions toward NJ in relation to breastfeeding. Materials and Methods: This prospective cross-sectional study was conducted in a tertiary medical center by examining infants and administering a questionnaire survey to their parents. All healthy infants admitted to the well-baby nursery were eligible for enrollment. A 16-item questionnaire was distributed to parents of enrolled infants from October 2017 to February 2019. Items of the questionnaire included perceptions and knowledge of NJ. In addition, clinical information of enrolled infants was obtained from medical records. Hyperbilirubinemia was defined as a peak transcutaneous bilirubinometer value ≥15 mg/dL. Results: In total, 449 parents completed the consent form and participated in the study. Results showed that exclusive breastfeeding was more common in infants with a vaginal delivery (p < 0.001), who were nonprimiparous (p = 0.004) and who had weight loss of >7% (p < 0.001). There was no significant correlation of exclusive breastfeeding with hyperbilirubinemia (p = 0.414). Approximately two-Thirds of parents were worried about NJ occurring in their child. Most parents were aware of phototherapy as management of NJ. However, their knowledge of risk factors, complications, and assessments of NJ was relatively deficient. Overall, 29.6% of parents rated breastfeeding as a risk factor for NJ, and 24% of parents indicated that cessation of breastfeeding was a management option for NJ. Conclusions: The results indicated that NJ in the first few days after birth poses a significant barrier to breastfeeding. Our findings provide critical information for plotting strategies to enhance parents' willingness to continue breastfeeding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-299
Number of pages8
JournalBreastfeeding Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • breastfeeding
  • neonatal jaundice
  • parents
  • phototherapy
  • questionnaire

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics
  • Health Policy
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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