Jaundice describes the yellow pigmentation of the skin and mucous membranes produced by elevated serum bilirubin (hyperbilirubinemia). Bilirubin is produced when red blood cells get old and are broken down by the body. Normally it is processed in the liver and then deposited in the intestine so it can come out in the stool.
Babies may be born with jaundice. This is because the red blood cells of babies have shorter lives than adult red blood cells. This combined with bruising at birth may cause a larger number of red cells to be broken down, overtaxing the capacity of the baby's liver. The balance usually rectifies with some days.