There are new parents who, in their zeal for “natural” everything, are refusing newborn vitamin K injections. Here’s why this is a terrible idea.
Why does my baby need a shot right after birth?
This potentially lifesaving injection of vitamin K is administered to newborns immediately after birth. While vitamin K is found in green, leafy vegetables and produced in smaller quantities by intestinal bacteria, it doesn’t cross the placenta to the child very well and it’s not found in sufficient quantities in breastmilk. This is why newborns need a vitamin K injection…oral formulations are less effective and are not available in the US. Without enough vitamin K, babies cannot activate clotting factors that help prevent bleeding. Vitamin K deficiency is a serious and potentially life-threatening cause of bleeding in infants up to 6 months of age.
What does Vitamin K do?
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin used by the body to form clots and to stop bleeding. Without it, babies can bleed into their brains, intestines, or other organs. ALL newborns have low levels of vitamin K, so they need vitamin K from another source.
Newborns who do not get a vitamin K shot are 81 times more likely to develop severe bleeding compared with those who receive the injection.
What happens if I decline the Vitamin K injection?
Between February and September 2013, four cases of late Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding (VKDB) were diagnosed at a hospital in Nashville, Tennessee. 3 of the infants had bleeding within the brain and the 4th had gastrointestinal bleeding. None of the infants received a vitamin K injection at birth. Moms, if you are declining the injection because you are planning to eat a healthy diet and are assuming you will pass enough vitamin K to your baby through your breastmilk, you’re wrong. Kids who suffer bleeds are almost exclusively breastfed. Formula contains vitamin K and those babies usually have a lower likelihood of bleeds.
What does a bleed mean for my baby?
Babies without enough vitamin K cannot form clots to stop bleeding and they can bleed anywhere in their bodies. Your baby may start appearing sluggish, lethargic, and possibly not wake up. Brain bleeding can start quickly and progress quickly.
One out of every five babies with VKDB dies.
Of the infants who have bleeding, about half of them have bleeding into their brains, which can lead to permanent brain damage or death. Others bleed in their stomach or intestines, or in other parts of the body. Many of the infants need blood transfusions, and some need surgeries.
But what about the preservatives?!?
Vitamin K is the main ingredient in the shot. The other ingredients stabilize the vitamin K and make it safe to inject. One ingredient keeps the vitamin K mixed in the liquid; another keeps the liquid from becoming too acidic. One of the ingredients is benzyl alcohol, a preservative. Benzyl alcohol is a common ingredient in many medications, and the microscopic amount in the vitamin K shot is not enough to be dangerous.
In the early 1990s, a small study in England found an “association” between the vitamin K shot and childhood cancer. An association means that two things are happening at the same time in the same person, but doesn’t tell us whether one causes the other. Scientists took this small study very seriously and looked extensively to see if they could find the same association in other children or replicate the study, but this association between vitamin K and childhood cancer was never found again in any other trial. It’s safe to say there is NO causative association between newborn vitamin K injections and childhood cancers.
No one should have to live with the guilt that they could be responsible for the death or disability of their child in a way that was entirely preventable. Share this with expecting parents, friends, family, and peers. Watch the original video on facebook and leave your comments and questions.
– Okay, Vitamin K injections for newborns. Okay, moms, I get it. It’s scary when someone comes at you with a needle, and your baby’s just been born. They’ve swaddled her and put her on the warmer, and then in comes the nurse with a needle, saying, “I’m gonna give her an injection of Vitamin K.” And people freak out because our natural inclination is to defend our child. And more and more recently, parents have been declining the Vitamin K injection for newborns. And in Nashville, in 2014, this led to disaster. Four children had bleeds due to Vitamin K deficiency, in parents who’d refused this life-saving treatment. Now, I want to tell you what Vitamin K does, why we give it, and why you should give it, because it’s crucial to potentially save your child’s life or save them from permanent disability. Vitamin K is necessary for humans. We need it to clot our blood. And it turns out we can only get it from leafy green vegetables or, to a smaller degree, from intestinal bacteria that synthesize it. Now, children, newborn babies have very low levels of it. Why? Because it doesn’t cross the placenta from mom very well, and because they don’t have a lot of those intestinal bacteria that make it. So, it turns out, they discovered in the 1900s, that if you gave an injection of Vitamin K to an infant, a newborn, right after birth, you could prevent what had for millennia been a potentially fatal complication of newborns, which is bleeding into the brain, into the intestines, into the organs, or the skin. For all of human history, this has been a disastrous adverse event of childhood. Right? And we were able to drop the rate to almost zero with this injection. It’s one of the great advances in medicine. Now, in recent years, parents start to question everything, which, we get it. Needles are scary. We’re worried. Are there preservatives in the vitamin that we’re giving? There was a study in 1990 that claimed to show a connection between Vitamin K injections and childhood Leukemia, which is terrifying. And more and more people are afraid of vaccinations and needles, and are we traumatizing our child. Look, all of that is a natural fear reaction, because as humans, we operate from a place of fear, particularly when it comes to our children. But here’s the real deal. Here’s what’s going on, because our emotions can serve us well in life, but they can also lead to disaster if we’re not listening to our brains. Vitamin K in newborns, the argument that people give is, “Well, can’t you just give it orally?” You could. It’s not as well absorbed, and we don’t have an oral formulation in the United States. In Europe, where they do have oral Vitamin K for children, it’s a totally different setup. When parents go home, they have a nurse who visits, and makes sure that they get the three separate doses of the oral pill. Here, that doesn’t happen. And if you miss a single dose, your risk of bleeding goes up dramatically. The injection on the other hand, lasts a long time, and it picks up very quickly when you need it. So, even when you go home, you’re still protected with Vitamin K. Now, people will say, “Well, as a mom, “I’m just gonna eat a lot of kale, “and really load up on Vitamin K, “and that’ll pass across the placenta.” Nope, doesn’t happen. “I’m gonna eat a lot of kale, and really “load up on Vitamin K, and it’ll pass “through my breast milk, to the child.” Doesn’t happen. Breast milk has very low levels of Vitamin K. And here’s the kicker. Kids who suffer bleeds, due to Vitamin K deficiency as newborns, are almost exclusively breast fed. Formula fed kids don’t, because formula has a lot of Vitamin K in they’re drinking it all the time. Breast milk doesn’t. What about preservatives and toxins and all the other buzzwords, right? Nah, you can actually request a preservative free formulation of Vitamin K. And in any case, the preservatives are present in such microscopic quantities, that they don’t cause harm to your baby. And so, every reasons and now, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. The Leukemia. You said Leukemia, ZDogg. Yes, I did, In 1990. There was this correlation in the study. Well, that freaked a lot of people out, including scientists, who said, “Wait a minute. “This is how science works. “We have a finding. “Let’s see if we can replicate it.” Multiple future studies showed no evidence that Vitamin K is associated or causes childhood Leukemia. Full stop. Not a thing. Okay? So, all that being said, imagine this. You decide, “I’m not gonna get that Vitamin K,” for whatever reason. You go home with your beautiful baby. Couple weeks go by, the baby’s not waking up very well. Little irritable, little lethargic. Now, he’s not waking up at all. You call 9-1-1. You go to the ER. You do a brain scan. There’s a catastrophic intracranial bleed. Your baby is in the operating room, getting operated on, and you’re there, knowing that you could have prevented this, by accepting that life-saving Vitamin K injection. Now, this is not fantasy. This has happened. The reason we’re making this video is so that no one has to live with that guilt, and know one has to know someone who lives with that guilt. Share this video. Get Vitamin K for your newborn, if you’re a upcoming parent, or share this with someone who you know is going through that, and do it to prevent tragedy. We out.