I have no idea of what the bilirubin levels of any of my children were -- they turned dark a few days after birth and it took a long time for their coloring to return to normal. But they all breastfed well, gained weight, and were the opposite of lethargic. And have had no health problems (aside from the occasional cold.)
But they *were* quite dark, so I'm assuming their bilirubin levels would have been quite high. (Is this reasonable to assume?) So what I am wondering is, can high bili levels occur independently of illness? Is it possible that a baby with a level of, say, 24 isn't sick? Is it just a cautionary thing to begin treatment at a certain level, in the absence of other symptoms of illness? Or is a high level necessarily indicative of a problem?
And why is it that light therapy works, if it is not the bilirubin in itself that is dangerous? Or is it? If a baby with high levels is not treated because there are no other symptoms of illness, is it possible that the baby will have been weakened/damaged in some way by lack of treatment, that will become apparent in later life?
Obviously I do not know a lot about this.