Vitamin K is good for babies

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(STLMoms) – It's a shot most newborns get when they're delivered. Pediatrician Dr. Karla Keaney, with Esse Health, talked with Margie Ellisor about Vitamin K injections.

Why do we give Vitamin K to newborns?

- an important nutrient that our bodies need to help blood to clot and stop bleeding

- from food we eat

- from good bacteria living in our intestines

Why does my baby need vitamin k?

All babies are born with low levels of Vitamin K in their bodies for several reasons

1. Vitamin K does not easily pass through the placenta (from mother to child)

2. Breastmilk contains very small amounts of Vitamin K – NOT enough to provide protection

3. Newborn intestines do not have the necessary 'good' bacteria to make enough Vitamin K on their own

Why is Vitamin K important to my baby?

-Too little Vitamin K puts your newborn at risk for a rare disease: Vitamin K deficiency bleeding more easily referred to as VKDB

-without enough Vitamin K, the blood cannot clot well and this puts your baby at risk for bleeding ANYWHERE in the body

● not just a cut or bruise but bleeding into the brain or the intestines for example. Sadly, this can lead to brain damage and even death.
● the risk can last up to 6 months of age

How is Vitamin K given to my baby?

- 1 injection into the muscle in the leg at birth – protection lasts many months & good absorption.

- What about giving Vitamin K by mouth and not a shot?
● not as well absorbed when given by mouth
● protection is much more short-lived and requires multiple doses
● still risk of late onset disease

Should all babies have Vitamin K?

- Yes, all babies need this, especially the premature, the very small, the sick, and those having surgery or other procedures (even circumcisions).

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