Oh, it is going to be a great day! These are your thoughts as you wake up from a very good night’s sleep. And your toddler had just as good a night as you! Ah, life is good.
As you climb out of bed and wrap yourself in your favorite robe, you go to check in with your angel. And there he is all tucked away under his favorite blanket. You ease over to the crib and reach to wake him to start your awesome day.
The perfect start to the perfect day is suddenly turned around. OMG, you scream in horror as you look down At your yellow toddler. My poor child is yellow! You proceed as any parent would. Hysterically.
And who wouldn’t? When the little tyke went to bed, he wasn’t yellow. What happened? Did the skin pigment fairy visit him last night? More than likely, no.
You begin to get a hold of yourself and start putting the pieces of the strange puzzle together. And so are we.
Today, let’s look into this question…why does my toddler have yellow skin?
Analyze The Situation
You know there has to be a very logical explanation for your little yellow munchkin. I will now stop with the jokes. Just think for a moment.
Does your toddler still breastfeed? What kind of foods does the toddler eat? What kind of foods does mom eat? Is it starting to make a little more sense? No? Let’s dig a bit deeper.
The yellowing of the skin is most likely a condition called carotenemia. Should the child be ingesting large amounts of food containing carotene, you have found your culprit.
Carotene is a nutrient found in mother’s milk, and any vegetable falling into the ‘yellow’ category. Squash, sweet potato, carrots, corn, and yams are the most widely eaten ‘yellow’ vegetables. They are loaded with carotene.
And if you boil these veggies and then mash them, it allows the carotene to be easily absorbed. But your toddler loves to snack on carrots during the day. And he loves squash, and…
Mom’s milk is also very high in carotene. And to add to the problem, it’s even higher if mom likes ‘yellow’ vegetables.
It is time for a bit of dietary advice. But first…
Carotenemia is only found in babies and toddlers. It is a harmless condition. However, there have been extremely rare cases of rare diseases causing carotenemia. Should your child be showing signs of being very ill with the turning color, consult a doctor immediately.
In your normally happy, healthy toddler, the condition can be altered back to normal. You just need to do what you can’t do at the moment. Stay calm, don’t panic.
Is It Jaundice?
While it’s true jaundice can make the skin yellow, it’s very rare. Rare in toddlers. It’s more common in newborns and can be treated right there at the hospital.
Jaundice indicates further underlying conditions. The doctor can rule out jaundice by taking a blood sample. If the child has a high level of bilirubin present, then it is jaundice. Again the jaundice condition is more likely in newborns.
Changing the Diet
Perhaps the easiest way to correct the yellow skin is through a dietary change. It would also be beneficial if mom would participate in the change as well. So when the toddler is reluctant to change, mom can be encouraging. “MM, the new foods are so good!” Mom may have to become a very good salesman here. Humans, toddlers included, hate change, so do I.
You should both increase the variety of foods you eat. And you also try to eat these new foods as close to all-natural as possible. All the while, you are decreasing the amount of ‘yellow’ foods and vegetables.
It’s going to be tough, but try these few home remedies for ‘flushing’ out the carotene.
Include lots of tomatoes in the change—anything made from tomatoes, such as tomato soup, natural tomatoes, tomato juice. I know, Yuck! Tomatoes! But tomatoes are rich in lycopene. Lycopene is very effective in flushing out carotene.
Another tough one is radishes. What! Toddler eating radishes? Well, not the radishes but the radish juice. Yep, it exists. Try to get at least three-quarters to a full cup into them, and you, every day. Radishes contain lycopene as well as enzymes that will attack the carotene and flush it out naturally.
Here is a suggestion your toddler may like. If you can get some sugar-cane, you can boil it down and make a sugary tea. You may try to put a bit of decaffeinated tea in with the mixture to make it palatable. The tannic acid in the tea will promote urination, and the sugar cane will attack the carotene.
Use some oregano as your main seasoning. Oregano can also promote the effective flushing out of carotene.
And try to sway the toddler from snacking on carrots to snacking on flavored almonds and dates. Only use the almonds at your discretion for the little tooth-less one. Almonds are more for mom. The dates taste more like candy to the toddler. Both will help eliminate the carotene.
Research, Research, Research
I am a firm believer in doing Internet research. You can find many more remedies and suggestions to help you and your child on the ‘net.’
You are probably not the first parent who has gone through the carotenemia condition. And you can find some excellent forums loaded with other parents commenting about the same condition. Reading about someone’s similar experience is a great ‘nerve-calming’ for a worried parent. You’re awesome…you can get through it!
So we ruled out the presence of the pigment fairy. Right? And hopefully, we gave you some good information and answered a few questions.
You and your toddler’s diet are probably to blame. But blame is a harsh word as the vegetables causing the condition are very healthy. Maybe now is a time to teach moderation.
And as always, teach them with love and affection.