Should you need urgent health advice please contact your GP or call NHS 111. In an emergency please visit A&E or call 999

Sussex Community is responsible for the writing, publishing and updating of the content on this page.

You're viewing the site locally in: Brighton & Hove and West Sussex

Prolonged Jaundice in a Baby

Information about Jaundice and why it is important for it to be assessed.

What is Jaundice?

Find out about Jaundice by clicking here: Newborn jaundice – Health Under 5s

If jaundice is common, why is it a concern?

Although jaundice is common in newborn babies, it should disappear by 2 weeks of age or by 21 days in a premature baby born before 37 weeks. By this point the baby’s liver is more mature and can break down the waste products more effectively. Jaundice after two weeks is called prolonged jaundice which can sometimes be a sign of a more serious or even life-threatening condition.

What will my Health Visitor Team do in Brighton and Hove, and West Sussex?

We have introduced a Jaundice Assessment Tool and information in your Red Book

We will complete this at your New Birth Visit (when your baby is 10-14 days old) and again at your 6-8 week review. We will examine your baby, talk to you about the signs and symptoms of jaundice and liver disease.

To assess your baby for jaundice and liver disease your health visitor team will:

  • Check your baby’s colour: Jaundice causes yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. Yellowing of the skin can be more difficult to see in brown or black skin. It might be easier to see yellowing to the palms of the hands, the soles of the feet and gums.
  • Ask about your baby’s nappies: Persistently dark, yellow urine and pale or pastey-coloured stools may be a sign of liver disease.
  • Ask about sleep: Usually new-born babies sleep more than they are awake. The amount of sleep they need varies, but can be from 8 hours up to 16 or 18 hours. However, jaundice can make your baby more sleepy than normal.

If your baby is still jaundiced from about 2 weeks of age onwards your health visitor team or midwife will arrange for you baby to have an appointment for a blood and urine test.

Do I need to do anything?

Although your health visitor team will assess for jaundice at your routine appointments, it can appear at any time. A baby with prolonged jaundice can become unwell quite quickly.

  • Talk to your health visitor team and midwife and ask them to show you where to find the information in the red book.
  • Be familiar with the signs and symptoms of jaundice and liver disease and know how and where to seek urgent help.

Yellow alert: The Children’s Liver Disease Foundation’s awareness campaign, promotes the early identification of liver disease in infants and their referral.

For further information please visit the NHS Conditions website



ParentLine logo

Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust runs a confidential secure text messaging service for parents of children aged 0-5 years called ParentLine. The service operates Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 4.30pm in Brighton & Hove and Monday to Friday between 9am to 4.30pm in West Sussex, excluding bank holidays. All texts will be responded to by a health visitor within 24 hours. Outside of the service working hours, you’ll receive a message back to inform you that your text will be responded to once the line reopens.

Should you require urgent health advice in the meantime, please contact your GP, visit an NHS walk-in centre or call NHS 111. For emergencies, dial 999 or visit A&E.

This page was last reviewed on 22-12-2022

This page will be next reviewed on 22-12-2025