Nov 122012

“This baby is jaundiced!  Look how nice and pink your skin is and look how yellow his is!” – Postpartum nurse to mother, after the mother had explained that baby had passed jaundice screening several times and had informed the nurse that the baby’s father was hispanic.

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 November 12, 2012  L&D Nurse, newborn  Add comments

  23 Responses to ““…Look How Nice & Pink Your Skin Is & Look How Yellow His Is.””

  1. I’m pretty sure I learned about dominant genetic traits (including darker skin tones tend to be dominant when paired with lighter) in 10th grade. Maybe this nurse needs to go back to high school?

  2. So frustrating! I’m very pale skinned and dh is Hispanic. All of my kids have looked yellow, especially compared to me and had to have blood drawn to check for jaundice. None of them were even close.

  3. “Then you’d better contact the state and tell them their guidelines are wrong, that YOU are the only way to diagnose jaundice and that it has nothing to do with the bilirubin count. You should call my doctor, too, and let my doctor know she’s ignorant. I’m sure she’ll appreciate that.”

  4. Jaundice. Now diagnosable solely by skin color.

  5. Something similar happened to a (white) friend of mine: When her son was born, she was in the hospital when a nurse came in to check on the baby. The nurse took a look at him, looked very concerned at my friend and asked if he had Downs syndrome. My friend said no and started to get freaked out, then realized: Her husband is Asian. Her kids have almond-shaped eyes.

    • My dh is mostly Irish (no asian at all) and I am mostly German, but people have often asked if my dh and our third born are asian. They have almond-shaped eyes. It is quite funny most of the time.

      • My second also has almond-shaped eyes, even though I am mixed British ancestry and DH is German and Irish. It is kind of odd combined with his blond air and blue eyes.

    • The first time I met my family o’ friends I only met the white mother and her three daughters that had white skin and red or brown hair. I thought all three had Downs.

      Their father is Korean. I felt very stupid.

    • I met a girl who has asian parents, but she happened to have an albino mutation. White skin, blondest hair and blue eyes, but extremely almond eyes. :) I wondered if she had Down’s until a friend explained she had albinism!

  6. i got the opposite, people told me my baby looked mexican. DH is irish and mixed northern european, so am i. She was severly jaundiced.

  7. So greatful I have a more yellow skin tone for this reason! I’m part native american and hubby is white. It is a nightmare color correcting pictures so one of us doesn’t look weird but worth it!

  8. Just as nice as the doctor telling my mother I had possible Down’s syndrome one day after birth (father is Asian, mother German go figure…). He left directly after dropping that gem, too. :/

  9. Hospitals really need to implement weekly mandatory sensitivity training. The stuff nurses and doctors say is just… wow. Being in the medical profession in a hospital setting, does that mean one totally loses all sense for good taste and common courtesy??? I have experienced it myself in doc’s offices and hospitals, but my midwives in the birthing center were nice all the way. My MD sister in a hospital is rude too (e.g. you say hm I have a headache, she’ll tell you you might have a brain tumor go check it out before you die and it is all your fault for eating meat ahem nice) – she always was socially akward but not rude like that – it happened in med school. I feel sorry for her patients. She also believes midwives are incapable and one should treat every cold with meds – and that’s in Europe!!! I have no idea what is done to young hopeful humans in med school to turn them into cold apathic non-listening machines.

  10. This happened to my friend in the Czech Republic. They kept her son for a week insisting he was jaundiced, but the didn’t tell her that was the reason. When they finally gave her the reason my friend informed them her son’s father was Vietnamese. They released them the next day.

  11. I wonder what this nurse would’ve said if it was the other way around, and baby was lighter than Mom.

  12. Huh…my youngest STILL has an olive tone to his skin that can look yellow. It matches his half Mexican daddy and looks nothing like super pale mommy over here. I guess he’s STILL jaundiced at 22mo right?

  13. This is mine. My kids still have brown skin and neither ever had jaundice. My son was screened about a million times. I told the nurses this story when my daughter was born a few years later and they screened her once and left us alone. I live in a pretty multi-cultural, diverse city. It was pretty surprising to me to come across this.

    • This happens to my sister every time, too. Her husband is Greek (blond and green-eyed, looks white) and we are part Native American (but she looks white.) Her babies are born very yellow-brown with lots of black hair. Only one of her children truly had jaundice, and that was because of ABO type incompatibility. Interestingly enough, I look a bit Native, but my babies are big and bald and so white!

    • I had something similar happen, except my husband and I are both Caucasian. She passed the bili test, and the nurse said “We’re not used to white babies, I guess”

  14. How horrible to think that babies all over the world are stuck repeatedly to have their biliruben levels tested when all that’s really needed to for this nurse to glance at the skin tone!

  15. A little off topic, but I got a “milkman” joke from one of the hospital workers. I am naturally brilliantly blonde and my husband has dark brown hair. My son was born with rich red auburn hair.
    No one in my family has red hair at all, not for several generations at least.

    I got a lot of “Oh, who does he look like?” comments with this ‘knowing’ look. Like I forgot to mention how promiscuous I am.

    He’s almost two now. And as blonde as blonde can be.
    And has his Daddy’s smile.

  16. A similar thing happened to me. My baby was diagnosed with jaundice, (which he probably did have but was not tested), but when at his 1 month appt the doctor said he still was a little jaundiced, I had a feeling he was wrong. My baby’s skin looked the same color as my husband’s, who is half Chinese. They did a blood test and it came back with no sign of jaundice. Knew it!!

  17. LOL! This is too funny! I have a Hispanic husband too, and yes, my babies look yellowish next to me (I’m white). I remember my daughter’s pediatrician (when she was 6 mo+) telling me I was feeding her too many carrots because she was so yellow. Funny thing was, he was East Indian. He should have got it!

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