After completing this article, readers should be able to:

Among the many factors related to neonatal hyperbilirubinemia is the composition of an affected infant’s diet. In 1879, Frerichs suggested that “bad nursing” could “exercise a powerful influence” on neonatal hyperbilirubinemia. Much has been learned since this suggestion was made.

Many investigations have documented that the consumption of human milk is related to neonatal hyperbilirubinemia, including one review of 12 studies involving more than 8,000 infants in the first week of life and controlled for factors such as hemolysis to enable comparison of dietary effects alone. Moderate hyperbilirubinemia (total serum bilirubin [TSB], 205 mcmol/L [12 mg/dL]) was present in 12.9% of the breastfed infants and 4% of the formula-fed infants (P<0.00001). Severe hyperbilirubinemia (TSB, 256 mcmol/L [15 mg/dL]) was present in 2% of the breastfed infants and 0.3% of the formula-fed infants (P<0.00001). Breastfed infants have higher...

You do not currently have access to this content.