Babies are so Precious. Why Gamble with their Health? With their Future?
For decades, obstetricians have routinely injected newborn babies with vitamin K soon after delivery. Vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin named “K” for the German word “koagulation” causes blood to clot, or coagulate, and prevents uncontrolled bleeding. As Phil Plait (@BadAstronomer) writes in Slate, some misinformed parents are refusing to have their infants injected. This is foolishness.
Babies are born vitamin K deficient. Severe vitamin K deficiency can occur within 6-15 weeks of birth. Without an intramuscular injection, the risk of developing severe vitamin K deficiency increases 81 times. A severe intracranial hemorrhage typically causes death or severe central nervous function dysfunction. The vitamin K story is one where exclusive breast-feeding isn’t sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of babies. Newborn babies need an intramuscular vitamin K injection.
It is also important to vaccinate children for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). Don’t be misinformed because of a 1998 Lancet paper authored by Andrew Wakefield and 12 others which triggered concerns that MMR vaccinations might trigger autism. Wakefield’s research was fraudulent. The paper has been retracted from the public record. Wakefield made up the data linking MMR with autism and Brian Deer has exposed the bogus claims made by Wakefield.
As infants grow to become toddlers, children, and adolescents, their health may be challenged by an inadequate intake of vitamins and minerals, likely coupled with excessive calorie consumption and physical inactivity. However, children are most vulnerable during the first 2 years of life. During this time, infants are exclusively dependent upon their caregivers for nourishment.
Nursing mothers need to eat a healthy diet because breast milk composition is not constant. The nutritional status of an infant reflects a nursing mother’s diet. Lactating women who use docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplements have more DHA in their breast milk. Their nursing infants have higher DHA concentrations in their blood.
Most importantly parents, don’t dismiss science. The human body is not perfect. Our dietary choices even less so. History teaches us that good nutrition is essential for health. Scientists invented vaccinations that save lives. The essentiality of vitamins and minerals is proven. Adhering to nutrition recommendations prevents deficiency diseases. Follow the advice of health professionals. Give a newborn a level playing field. The alternative is heartbreaking.
Zipursky A. Prevention of vitamin K deficiency bleeding in newborns. 1999 Br J Haemotol doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2141.1999.01104.x
Motohara K, Matsukura M, Matsuda I, Iribe K, Ikeda T, Kondo Y, Yonekubo A, Yamamoto Y, Tsuchiya F. Severe vitamin K deficiency in breast-fed infants. 1984 J Ped doi: 10.1016/S0022-3476(84)80083-9