Why Do Breastfed Babies Not Have Enough Vitamin K?

Our bodies require the fat-soluble vitamin K to cause blood to clot. This micronutrient is crucial. It aids in synthesizing prothrombin, the protein necessary for blood coagulation. Without it, even a minor cut could continue to bleed and cause significant blood loss. Unfortunately, vitamin K levels are low in new-born infants. As a result, they must receive the same at birth. 

To prevent the rare but deadly disease known as haemorrhagic disease of the new-born (HDN), also known as vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB), it is crucial for new-borns. Connect to the best child specialist doctor in Hyderabad to learn more about infant vitamin K deficiency. Vitamin K is not naturally present in babies. Sadly, nursing does not provide enough vitamins to shield infants against VKDB. This illness strikes within the first week of life and can result in internal bleeding, permanently damaging organs, and even death. Therefore, to prevent a deficiency, supplements should be given to neonates. 

Due to inadequate levels being passed through the placenta or breast milk during pregnancy, babies do not receive enough vitamin K. Additionally, gut microorganisms in our bodies produce it. However, new-borns do not have enough gut flora to produce the same at birth. 

Vitamin K 

There are primarily two varieties of vitamin K. Plants, especially leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale, contain vitamin K1 (phylloquinone). Menaquinone, which functions similarly to vitamin K1 and is produced naturally in the digestive tract, is vitamin K2. 

Vitamin K is necessary for your body to make the proteins involved in blood clotting. Your body lacks enough of these proteins if you are vitamin K deficient. Too much bleeding is a symptom of vitamin K insufficiency Infants are much more likely to experience a vitamin K deficit. The disorder is VKDB, or vitamin K deficiency bleeding, in babies. Below is further information about vitamin K deficiency. Connect to a child specialist hospital in Hyderabad to learn more about vitamin K deficiency and food to eat to improve the nutrient. 

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Symptoms Of Vitamin K Deficiency in Infants 

The signs consist of the following: 

  • Your infant is prone to bruising. 
  • Bleeding from the umbilical cord or the stomach, the nose. 
  • Increased bruising on the baby’s head and face. 
  • Irritation, pale skin and gums, and vomiting. 
  • If the infant develops increasing jaundice and is older than three weeks. 

Risks of deficiency 

The lower levels of vitamin K in breast milk and limited stores at birth can put breastfed babies at risk of deficiency. This can lead to severe health problems, such as bleeding disorders, which can be life-threatening. If any severe conditions happen, approach the nearby children’s hospitals in Hyderabad. 

Infants with vitamin K deficiency might be prone to vitamin K bleeding deficit, also known as VKDB, and cannot stop bleeding because their blood lacks enough vitamin K to form a clot. Both inside and outside of the body can experience bleeding. It can be challenging to identify internal bleeding sites. A youngster with VKDB might frequently bleed into the brain or the intestines. The result could be brain damage. When vitamin K is not given at birth, even healthy new-borns can develop VKDB up to six months of age. Based on the infant’s age at which bleeding issues start, there are three types of VKDB: early, classical, and late. 

Why Do Infants Have Low Levels of Vitamin K? 

  1. Lower Levels of Vitamin K In Breast Milk 

One of the main reasons babies have less vitamin K is that breastmilk naturally contains lower levels of nutrients than formula. This is because the baby’s body does not as easily absorb vitamin K in breastmilk as the synthetic form found in formula. 

  1. Limited Vitamin K Stores at Birth 

Another reason breastfed babies have less vitamin K is that they are born with limited stores of nutrients. This is because vitamin K is not easily transferred across the placenta during pregnancy. As a result, new-borns rely on their stores and the vitamin K they receive from breastmilk to meet their needs. 

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By consulting top paediatrician in Hyderabad, new-born vitamin K deficiency can be known.  

Which New-borns Are Most at Risk for Vitamin K Deficiency? 

Some infants may have bleeding brought on by deficiencies more quickly than other infants: 

  • Babies born earlier than 37 weeks gestation. 
  • Babies who experienced respiratory problems during birth and received insufficient oxygen. 
  • Babies delivered by forceps, ventouse, or a caesarean section may have resulted in bruises. 
  • Babies whose expectant moms used anticoagulants, epilepsy medications, or tuberculosis medications. 
  • Infants with persistent jaundice symptoms and infants with black urine and light stools. 

Consult the best child specialist doctor in Hyderabad to get more information regarding vitamin K deficiency. 

Ways to Ensure Adequate vitamin k for breastfed babies 

To ensure that breastfed babies receive enough vitamin K, the mother needs to take steps to increase their own intake of the nutrient. This can be done by consuming foods high in vitamin K, such as leafy greens, broccoli, and cauliflower. Additionally, some healthcare providers may recommend a vitamin K supplement for breastfed babies to ensure they receive enough. 

The best strategy to prevent low levels of vitamin K and VKDB in neonates is a single intramuscular vitamin K injection at delivery. Parents should be informed of the risks of not receiving this vitamin K intake by their healthcare practitioners. Connect to the best paediatric hospital in Hyderabad to know more about the foods to take to improve the condition of the infants. 

Final words 

While breastmilk is considered the best food for babies, mothers need to be aware that it may not provide enough vitamin K. By taking steps to increase their own intake and considering supplements, mothers can help to ensure that their breastfed babies receive the necessary amount of this nutrient. Know more about infant vitamin K deficiency by consulting children’s hospitals in Hyderabad.

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