Carotenemia and Yellow Skin in Babies

baby getting an examination

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Does your child's skin look a little yellow? Are you worried that your child is jaundiced? Instead of jaundice, it could also be a classic case of carotenemia, in which an infant's skin appears yellow, or even orange, after eating a lot of baby foods that are high in carotene.

These foods include carrots, squash, sweet potato, corn, yams, pumpkin, egg yolks, spinach, and beans. Other vegetables and fruits with a deep green or yellow color may also contain high levels of carotene. Breastfed babies can also develop carotenemia if their mother is eating a lot of foods that are high in carotene.

Carotenemia is a harmless condition and you don't have to restrict these foods from your baby's diet. It will likely go away over time, as your child gets older and eats more of a variety of foods.


Although you should mention your concerns to your pediatrician, it is likely that no blood tests need to be done, especially if your child is otherwise growing and developing normally.

The fact that their eyes aren't yellow is a good sign that they aren't jaundiced, and if they are otherwise well, there likely isn't anything else causing their skin to appear yellow.

If you are very concerned about it, you might also consider changing their diet some, so that they aren't eating as many high-carotene foods and see if their skin color becomes less yellow. Remember that you don't have to though as carotenemia is temporary and does not cause any harm.

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