What does she do with your baby

Is Vitamin K Really Useful for Newborns?

Shortly after the birth, many parents ask themselves whether vitamin K makes sense for newborns and what side effects can occur. The fact is that vitamin K for newborns is part of general prophylaxis in Germany, but is not mandatory. Therefore, you have to decide for yourself whether your baby should receive vitamin K. The following information could help you make a decision:

First of all, I would like to explain to you what vitamin K actually is, what it does in the body and what humans need it for. Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vital substance and as such is vital. It helps mineralize bones and regulates blood clotting. Although the vitamin is hardly known and still little researched scientifically, it is clear that vitamin K works throughout the body and has a positive effect on teeth, blood, vessels, bones and the heart. Although it is so useful and important, your body can hardly produce the "newborn vitamin" itself. So it is necessary to supply it from the outside.

Strictly speaking, there are three subgroups of vitamin K that need to be distinguished. While vitamin K1 is produced during the photosynthesis of leaves and is accordingly absorbed in small amounts through the consumption of leafy vegetables, it plays a subordinate role in the body. The intestine, which is generally responsible for the utilization of vitamins, hardly absorbs vitamin K1 and metabolizes it. It looks a little better with vitamin K2. This can be partially produced by the body itself, directly in the intestine with the help of certain bacterial cultures. They then transport it through the blood to the intestinal lining. However, this only happens in small doses and only when the intestine is healthy and fit. For this reason we need additional vitamin K. However, vitamin K3 is excluded from this. This is produced artificially and can be converted in the intestine in such a way that it prevents deficiency. However, too much of it has a toxic effect, which is why it is not suitable for addition in this form and is not given to newborns.

"Yes" to vitamin K!

The fact is, everyone needs vitamin K just like all the other vitamins and minerals. If you are pregnant, according to the recommendations of the German Nutrition Society, your body needs 60 micrograms a day. You have the same need when you are breastfeeding. The dose of vitamin K for newborns is 4 micrograms per day. From the 4th month of life, the requirement increases to 10 micrograms. Small children between one and four years of age need 15 micrograms, adolescents even 50 micrograms. When your baby is born, it usually has a certain amount of vitamin K in its liver. However, nobody knows how much and in order to prevent a deficiency, the valuable vitamin K for newborns is given three times during the first preventive check-ups. Our midwife gave our son 2 drops of vitamin K for newborns directly in the mouth after the birth during the U1 examination. To do this, however, she waited until we had breastfed for the first time, because this gave our baby the chance to taste the first breast milk, the so-called colostrum. In addition, the vitamin can be better absorbed through the fat in the colostrum, the midwife explained to us. The other vitamin K doses then took place, according to our consent, during the U2 examination and U3 examination and were administered by the pediatrician. The baby was painless and well tolerated. However, when researching the advantages and disadvantages of vitamin K for newborns, we quickly encountered negative reactions and were initially unsettled.

No vitamin K without a stressful birth?

More and more parents are of the opinion that their baby should only be given vitamin K for newborns if it has gone through a strenuous birth process or was born prematurely. Otherwise they do without it and rely on the ingredients of breast milk, which also contains vitamin K for newborns. However, often not in sufficient quantity, apart from the fact that the child's intestine cannot yet use it properly. An exciting fact: since 1994, the recommended dose of 1 mg vitamin K for newborns has been increased to 2 mg. This reduced the risk of bleeding in newborns from 1.8 in 100,000 births to 0.4 in 100,000 births. Without the administration of vitamin K to newborns, the statistical risk of damage to health from a vitamin K deficiency in newborn babies who are breastfed is 4-10 out of 100,000. Despite these positive statistics, parents remain skeptical of the benefits and complain above all that the effects and side effects of this prophylaxis are still virtually unexplored.

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