Why Is Vitamin K Important For Babies?

Is Vitamin K Important For Babies

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Are you constantly worried that even after having a balanced diet throughout your pregnancy, your baby may have a deficiency? Do you want to know how you can prevent your child from developing any Vitamin-deficiency related health complications? Are you aware that newborns have very low Vitamin K levels? Read on to find out more information about the rare Vitamin K.

What Is Vitamin K For Babies?

Here are a few facts about Vitamin K:

  • It is very important for the clotting of blood.
  • Deficiency of Vitamin K can lead to uncontrolled bleeding.
  • Babies normally have very low Vitamin K levels in their body at the time of birth.
  • Older children and adults get Vitamin K from the bacteria in their gut or through diet.

[ Read: 7 Month Baby Food ]

Vitamin K Fro Babies – Why Is It Important?

Your baby may have very less amount of Vitamin K in her body at birth, yet it is not a cause of concern, as it is usually enough to stop bleeding.

One in 10,000 babies suffers from a Vitamin K deficiency at birth, known as Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding (VKDB) (1) or Hemorrhagic Disease of the Newborn (HDN) (2). Babies born with the VKDB condition do not have enough vitamin K to make their blood clot.

[ Read: Food To Increase Breast Milk ]

When Can A Baby Develop Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding (VKBD)?

VKDB has three categories:

  • Early VKDB: In this case, bleeding happens within the first 24 hours after birth.
  • Classic VKDB: In this case, bleeding happens in the first week after baby’s birth.
  • Late VKDB: In this case, bleeding happens between week 2 and week 12 since baby’s birth.

Why Are Babies Having Breast Milk Prone to Vitamin K Deficiency?

If your baby is on formula feed, the chances of her suffering from VKDB are lesser. It is because formula milk contains higher doses of Vitamin K than breast milk. However, it does not imply that you stop breastfeeding your baby and switch to formula milk overnight. VKDB mostly affects babies who are having breast milk and:

  • Are born before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Are born through C-section or with the help of forceps or ventouse.
  • Suffer bruises at birth.
  • Have liver problems or other health issues.
  • Suffer from breathing problems at birth.
  • If the mother of the baby was on medication during pregnancy for health issues like epilepsy, tuberculosis or to prevent blood clotting.

How To Boost Vitamin K Levels in Babies?

There are two ways of increasing Vitamin K levels in babies:

1. Giving Your Baby Vitamin K Through Injections:

Giving your baby vitamin K through injections is the most reliable way (3) of boosting it. Doctors usually give a shot in the baby’s leg muscles (intramuscular injection) right after birth. It will keep any Vitamin K deficiency in babies at bay for many months to come. Your baby may develop a little swelling or soreness at the site of the injection for a couple of days.

[ Read: Weaning Foods ]

2. Giving Your Baby Vitamin K Orally:

You can also give your baby Vitamin K drops orally. Three doses will be mandatory to prevent any deficiency. The doctor may administer a dose at birth, another one after almost a week since birth and the last one, six weeks after birth. However, doctors usually do not recommend oral suspension as your baby is not able to absorb it very well, and therefore this method is not foolproof.

You should speak with your doctor before the delivery to understand more about the benefits of both the methods. Choose the best method of giving vitamin k for baby with the help of your doctor.

If your baby’s pediatrician gave her Vitamin K, please go ahead and share your experience and advice here.

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