Vitamin K: Do we have an ethical obligation to babies whose parents suffer healthcare delusions?

distraught looking conspiracy believer in suit with aluminum foil head isolated on white background

Vitamin K refusal is in the news again.

According to WBUR:

The baby was born full-term and healthy, but now, just a few weeks later, lay limp and unresponsive, barely breathing…

“The baby was diagnosed with bleeding in the brain,” said Dr. Ivana Culic, a neonatologist …

… The parents of the baby had refused the standard shot of Vitamin K that would almost certainly have prevented that bleed.

Tragedies like these raise a thorny ethical issue: how do we protect children whose parents suffer from healthcare delusions?

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]You can’t take your baby home without a car seat; you shouldn’t be allowed to take your baby home without a vitamin K shot.[/pullquote]

Why is Vitamin K important?

Infants are vulnerable to a condition known as hemorrhagic disease of the newborn. The cause is deficiency of Vitamin K, an important component of the cascade of reactions needed for proper blood clotting.

As explained in this Medscape article:

Classic vitamin K deficiency bleeding usually occurs after 24 hours and as late as the first week of life. Classic vitamin K deficiency bleeding is observed in infants who have not received prophylactic vitamin K at birth.

The incidence of classic vitamin K deficiency bleeding ranges from 0.25-1.7 cases per 100 births…

Infants who have classic vitamin K deficiency bleeding are often ill, have delayed feeding, or both. Bleeding commonly occurs in the umbilicus, GI tract (ie, melena), skin, nose, surgical sites (ie, circumcision), and, uncommonly, in the brain.

There are approximately 4 million infants born in the US each year. In the absence of prophylactic Vitamin K shots routinely given to newborns, we would expect anywhere from 10,000 – 65,000+ cases per year. Routine vitamin K shots are literally life saving.

Sadly, some US parents embrace the fashionable delusion that vitamin K injections are harmful. It is their babies who suffer major GI and brain bleeds and the permanent injuries and deaths that go along with them.

Consider Baby Olive. Olive had been normal at birth and for the first few days afterward. Then her mother noted that she was lethargic. She immediately took Olive to the emergency room.

The next thing I knew I was sitting in a room with Eric and our Bishop from church, and seeing the doctor wheel in a computer with pictures on the screen… Just by looking, you could tell it wasn’t good. Where the left side of her brain was supposed to be, there was a huge (16 mm, to be exact) mass of blood, pushing her entire brain off center.

Dr. M. explain that a clot had developed which was placing immense pressure on Olive’s brain. Not only that, but there was bleeding on the back of the right side of her brain as well. The water pockets that are within the brain were completely destroyed, and the tissue on the left side of the brain looked mostly damaged. He said that the lack of Vitamin K in Olive’s system resulted in her body’s inability to clot. Anything as small as putting her down in her bed could have caused this bleed. Since she couldn’t clot, the bleeding didn’t stop. There had been one other case of this that the doctor had seen – I asked what had happened then, and was told that the baby hadn’t lived.

Olive was treated with vitamin K to restore the ability of her blood to clot and underwent brain surgery to evacuate the blood in her head; she made an excellent recovery. The entire disaster could have been avoided had Olive simply received vitamin K at birth.

As a general matter, we give parents wide latitude in determining the care and best interests of their children; we should! The freedom to raise your children as you wish is a critical freedom. But I would argue that we also have ethical obligations to babies like Olive whose parents embrace fashionable healthcare delusions.

Parents are free to risk their own lives by informed refusal of recommended medical care, but they don’t have the right to risk their children’s lives. Parents who refuse to seek medical treatment for deadly conditions like diabetes are (appropriately) charged with medical neglect. It doesn’t matter whether the parental delusion is that diabetes can be cured by prayer, or alternative health, or simply watchful waiting. Parents are both ethically and legally obligated to make sure the child receives medical treatment.

How about prophylactic care?

We have no problem mandating car seats when babies travel in automobiles regardless of whether parents think that car seats are helpful or harmful. You can’t take your baby home from the hospital in a car unless you have an approved car seat.

Similarly, we should mandate prophylactic vitamin K shots regardless of what parents believe about them. The facts are clear. Hemorrhagic disease of the newborn is a real threat to babies’ health and vitamin K prevents it; the benefits of vitamin K outstrip any possible risks. You shouldn’t be allowed to take your baby home from the hospital unless that baby has received a prophylactic vitamin K shot.

Parents are free to hold whatever healthcare delusions they choose, but they ought not to be free to risk their babies’ lives in service of their delusions.

189 Responses to “Vitamin K: Do we have an ethical obligation to babies whose parents suffer healthcare delusions?”

  1. Michelle
    September 4, 2016 at 3:57 pm #

    All of my kids have had the Vitamin K shot. But each time, I expressed reservations about it. My husband has a rare blood-clotting disorder – his blood clots too much. His condition is rare enough that there’s hardly any research on it at all. We don’t know if it’s hereditary, and assume there’s a chance that one of our kids might inherit it. So my concern was, if the baby has this over-clotting condition, could extra Vitamin K be dangerous? The doctors and nurses I asked all told me the same thing: “I don’t know. It’s up to you whether the baby gets the shot or not.” In the same way, none of them have EVER told me that Vitamin K deficiency could be fatal. So my personal opinion is that the shot shouldn’t be mandatory, but the doctors should be able to give you sufficient counseling about it, and the nurses should at least be able to tell you who to ask for more info.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      September 4, 2016 at 4:05 pm #

      Why not ask the hematologist who diagnosed your husband’s condition?

    • Mary Guralnyk
      September 20, 2016 at 6:18 pm #

      Michelle, I too have a genetic condition increasing my chance of clotting. After my emergency C-section with bub and three weeks at home, I developed severe DVT through my leg and am on blood thinners for life. I then learned of my genetic factors.

      I understand your husband’s condition is very rare, but was it “triggered” by something like flying, injury, surgery?

      My hematologist told me the pregnancy and C-section “set the clotting off”. It took me a long time, post-natal depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress counselling and treatment. I am taking it as a weird “blessing” though because I can now be wary of the genetic predisposition for my daughter if she were ever to fly, have children, need surgery (knock wood).

  2. The Rita
    August 25, 2016 at 9:41 am #

    The stupidity of the anti vitamin k shot from anti vax morons is that they all suck down vitamins like candy but you offer to give their baby a vitamin that’s actually useful and they are like “well needle is bad” really you can’t even explain to them how dumb they are by using crayons and construction paper. Even that goes over their dumb little heads.

  3. Anne
    August 16, 2016 at 6:16 pm #

    There was an association between IM Vitamin K and childhood leukaemia in early 1990s (from UK, I think). Debunked by subsequent reviews, but the damage was done then. The option of oral Vitamin K (which was the IM preparation given orally in 3 doses over 1 week) was introduced.
    Once the further data refuted the original paper, IM Vit K was again standard of care (because it worked better than oral), but the original association resurfaces occasionally.
    No references as on my way to work, sorry.

  4. Rhybellious
    August 16, 2016 at 12:03 pm #

    I am so incredibly sick of the arrogant privilege of these people that presumes they are entitled to a healthy baby and omg the worst thing that can happen is that their child has a transitory and minor pain. My son has a metabolic disorder. During times of metabolic stress, he often needs an IV bolus in order to maintain his baselines. Do I enjoy watching nurses dig in his arms for a vein (he’s had so many IVs and lab draws over the years that his veins are scarred and under the best of circumstances he’s now a tough stick)? At one point last May I stood there and watched them stick him seven times before they got a marginal insertion. Because they didn’t want it to blow they had to poke him twice more to get blood for labs. No, I really don’t. It sucks to watch your child in pain. It sucks for him to be in pain. You know what I like less? Potentially fatal metabolic acidosis. Being a parent is not about collecting ego boosting bragging points about how you stuck it to the “man” and everything turned out fine. It’s about doing everything in your power to give your child the best possible chance at health…something that is not guaranteed, regardless of what the ncb crowd may think.

    Im beyond sick of them trivializing the risk of infant death by calling it the “dead baby card”. The fact that they frequently attack and bully loss moms into silence makes their behavior even more pathological. My youngest died of complications related to hypoxia and infection. His life and brain function would have been preserved by a c-section. His surrogate and I would not have spent the last twenty-two months grieving his loss if she’d been given a prompt c-section. Any birth experience that ends in a dead baby sucks. The fact that they put so much emphasis on “bonding” as this incredibly fragile process that can be disrupted by the most minute deviation from ncb rhetoric makes me wonder if their narcissism has seriously impacted their ability to form human relationships. I did not meet my youngest daughter until she was ten days old. I never held my youngest son. My bond to him transcended that and his death. The fact that I didn’t get to hold him close and nurse him is heartbreaking, but does not mean that he was loved any less. My daughter is twenty two months old and if we were any more bonded, she’d be velcroed to my side.

    /rant. Sorry today appears to be a cranky one for me.

    • Roadstergal
      August 16, 2016 at 12:49 pm #

      Don’t apologize for the very relevant and well-stated rant. I’m so sorry for what you and your loved ones have had to go through.

      • Rhybellious
        August 16, 2016 at 4:17 pm #

        Thanks for being so gracious! I appreciate it a lot!

    • Stephanie Rotherham
      August 16, 2016 at 12:52 pm #

      I’m sorry for your loss. Never be silent.

    • Madtowngirl
      August 16, 2016 at 1:42 pm #

      Echoing what others have said. I’m so sorry for your loss, and do not apologize. It is the epitome of privilege to look down one’s nose at a “dead baby” card, because “it could never happen to me.”

      • Fleur
        August 19, 2016 at 4:35 am #

        Things you never seem to hear: “my doctor says a natural home birth could kill me but he’s just playing the dead mummy card. I mean, women die all the time in hospital”.

        Rhybellious – I’m so sorry for the loss of your baby.

    • moto_librarian
      August 16, 2016 at 4:16 pm #

      Far too many people in the NCB movement lack any sense of perspective. I’m so very sorry for all that you have been through.

    • Karen in SC
      August 16, 2016 at 4:18 pm #

      I remember when you lost your baby son. Heartbreaking. I hope your sweet daughter is doing well.

      • Rhybellious
        August 16, 2016 at 11:47 pm #

        Thank you for asking about her! She is doing absolutely fabulous! Our whole family is so grateful for her and big brother adores her.

    • sdsures
      August 19, 2016 at 7:11 am #


  5. Fleur
    August 16, 2016 at 11:17 am #

    The story of Baby Olive is absolutely terrifying. One of the arguments I keep hearing from the anti-Vitamin K crowd is that the injection is only necessary for babies born via c-section or forceps delivery, because babies who have a peaceful whalesong and unicorns birth have zero risk of bleeding (unless they’re involved in a car crash on the way back from hospital, which these people are confident won’t happen to them). Yet that poor baby could have got a brain bleed from as little as being laid in her bed!

    • Roadstergal
      August 16, 2016 at 12:50 pm #

      “because babies who have a peaceful whalesong and unicorns birth have zero risk of bleeding”

      Everyone knows that being squeezed hard through a passage tiny enough to mold the shape of your head, bumping into bones along the way, will give one nary a bruise.

      • Fleur
        August 16, 2016 at 3:21 pm #

        Ha – my thoughts precisely. An acquaintance once tried to provide me with patronising reassurance that my daughter wouldn’t suffer lasting trauma from the “shock” of her birth by scheduled c-section. All I could think was: “Your baby was driven out of the only home she’d ever known by a series of earthquakes, then had to pass through an exit so small that she came out with a squashed-looking head, and you think MY daughter must have been stressed by her birth experience?”

        • Erin
          August 16, 2016 at 5:02 pm #

          My Aunt (by marriage) told me that my son would have psychological damage from his arrival (by emcs) but nothing that good psychologist couldn’t fix.

          I’ve still never forgiven her and I don’t see it happening any time soon. Particularly as for a long time I believed it, believed that I’d failed him before I even became a Mother for not being able to give birth to him. Shame there isn’t a “think before you open your mouth” jab.

          • Fleur
            August 16, 2016 at 8:48 pm #

            In your shoes, I wouldn’t forgive your aunt either.

            (By the way, I’ve seen a number of your comments on here before and I always wanted to say thank you for speaking out about some of the shocking treatment you’ve received in the past – I admire your honesty tremendously.)

          • Erin
            August 17, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

            Thanks, however I’m not sure how hard it is to be honest on an anonymous forum. It’s certainly easier here than face to face with someone because if anyone judges me here for the fact that I hated (for want of a better word) my son for the first six months or feels sorry for what happened to me, I can’t see the disgust/pity on their faces.

          • Monkey Professor for a Head
            August 17, 2016 at 11:04 pm #

            I think I can speak for all the regulars here, when I say that none of us think that of you. In fact if anything we all admire you greatly for your strength.

          • Fleur
            August 18, 2016 at 4:30 am #

            Seconded x 100.

          • Who?
            August 18, 2016 at 7:25 am #

            Exactly so.

          • Brix
            August 18, 2016 at 5:08 am #

            Anyone whose reaction was disgust or pity are POS. You deserve compassion. You’re an incredibly brave woman and I, too, am grateful for your sharing your truth.

          • demodocus
            August 17, 2016 at 3:44 pm #

            well i’m sure she was just *wonderful* help with your ppd,

          • MI Dawn
            August 18, 2016 at 7:10 am #

            Hugs, Erin. You have been very open and honest, and I agree with the others that your aunt should have been bitchslapped and then tossed out on her rear, as a “think before you speak” jab.

      • demodocus
        August 16, 2016 at 4:49 pm #

        my daughter had a visible bruise (though very mild) from hitting my pelvis.

    • Gene
      August 16, 2016 at 1:06 pm #

      The baby we had most recently in our ED was vaginal delivery via midwife (in hospital). Mother was breastfeeding exclusively. Maternal GM was a midwife and told her daughter that since she was BF’ing, her baby didn’t need the VitK shot (it was only for inferior mothers who -GASP- formula fed). As her baby was bleeding everywhere (brain, gut, etc), the mother was screaming that she was going to kill her mother.

      Low risk my ass.

      • Heidi
        August 16, 2016 at 1:14 pm #

        I read that exclusively breast fed babies who haven’t had the shot are more likely to hemorrhage because I assume formula is fortified with vitamin K, but I guess that’s an inconvenient benefit to formula so it’s never going to be mentioned.

      • Rhybellious
        August 16, 2016 at 1:19 pm #

        That poor baby. I hope s/he survives her grandmother’s stupidity.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        August 16, 2016 at 1:23 pm #

        What’s the treatment for that problem? Coagulants of some sort?

        • Azuran
          August 16, 2016 at 3:40 pm #

          Well, I’d say vitamin K for sure, so the baby can start producing coagulation factors again.
          I do think it’s possible to make concentrated coagulation factor from blood donations (not something I use, so I’m not sure about the detail.) But I guess they can transfuse those to the baby to help stop the bleeding?… And then whatever treatment might be needed depending on where the bleeding occurred….like brain surgery…

          • Gene
            August 16, 2016 at 8:57 pm #

            Yeah, VitK first. Everything else is reactive (coag factors, etc). Last I heard (transferred to regional fancy children’s hospital), the baby lived but with severe issues (brain damage from brain bleed and some GI issues as well). Not good.

          • Kelly
            August 18, 2016 at 12:15 pm #

            That poor mother. I feel for her so much more because she listened to someone who had medical experience and someone she trusted. I hope the grandmother helps with her grandchild’s issues. I don’t know how I would ever salvage a relationship with my mom after that though.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            August 16, 2016 at 9:29 pm #

            What do vets do for dogs that get into rat poison? Wouldn’t that be similar?

          • Azuran
            August 16, 2016 at 10:03 pm #

            If the owner noticed the ingestion, you make them vomit and give activated charcoal. If the owner only calls us when the pet is actively bleeding, then basically we give vitamin K.
            Transfusions are a possibility if they lose too much blood…depending on the clinic, not a lot of general clinic can do those.
            In specialized hospitals they might also give plasma or concentrated coagulation factors.
            But there is basically nothing you can do if the dog bleed into it’s brain or lungs.

          • Christy
            August 17, 2016 at 12:18 pm #

            Vitamin K, maybe blood transfusion.

        • sapphiremind
          October 6, 2016 at 8:01 am #

          FFP (fresh frozen plasma) Cryo (cryoprecipitate, which has fibrinogen and other clotting factors), platelets, vit K of course and crossing your fingers. If there is a specific pocket of blood putting pressure on the brain, they might do surgery to drain it, but that’s honestly rare and doesn’t always help. The baby is having a massive stroke essentially and while you can do some things to encourage the bleeding to stop, you can’t make it stop nor can you do much about the damage it causes, unfortunately.

      • Fleur
        August 16, 2016 at 3:33 pm #

        That poor baby. I’m incredibly close to my mother, but I’m not sure I would ever forgive her if my child came to harm because she gave me shitty advice like that. I hope the baby recovered.

      • rachelmarie Acosta
        August 21, 2016 at 3:39 pm #

        And isn’t a vaginal birth traumatic to the brain and all because of issues like huge babies and small pelvis? I’m thinking of babies being bruised all over thier face like mine was when he was stuck, I’m glad we got the VIT K.

    • Azuran
      August 16, 2016 at 1:56 pm #

      They just don’t get how biology works. Your body is constantly taking care of microscopic bleeding that happens all the time due to ridiculously small trauma you get simply by living or just out of nowhere.

      • Fleur
        August 16, 2016 at 3:57 pm #

        It’s frightening that people who lack a basic understanding of biology are doling out “advice” and, heaven help us, some parents actually listen to them when making what could be life or death decisions for their babies.

        • Puffin
          August 16, 2016 at 7:40 pm #

          Saw a friend of a friend telling people to go off their psychiatric medications and “do a whole body detox and follow a chemical free diet” because they are just “poisoned” by modern living and their brains can’t communicate properly with their guts which is why they deal with MH issues.

          I didn’t even know where to start with that one… My friend, to her credit, posted that she detoxes by having a functioning liver.

          I’d love to see these sorts of people really, truly try following a chemical free diet.

          • Fleur
            August 16, 2016 at 8:27 pm #

            Ugh. A few years ago, a friend of mine came off her psychiatric medications because she got into the clutches of those kind of people. I turned up for a weekend visit and she was obviously in a bad state/delusional, plus she was ranting non-stop about how large doses of Vitamin C cure everything including cancer but mainstream medicine suppresses that knowledge because they’d lose money if it got out. She kept using the Gallileo fallacy, which even then, before I’d done any real reading about alternative “medicine”, I could see was completely flawed. I’d really like to get my hands on the person or people who peddled all that rubbish to her.

          • Puffin
            August 16, 2016 at 8:56 pm #

            Good old Linus Pauling…

            Won a Nobel in Chemistry for describing chemical bonds, and a Nobel peace prize for his activism, and then went completely off the deep end with vitamin C nonsense. But because he was a scientist, and a respected one at that, his myths persist.

            Unfortunately, I think very brilliant people are more prone than is typical to just the sort of hubris that plays into believing that they alone know The Truth About ____, which is why so many get pulled in. Lots of woo peddlers are actually very intelligent people.

          • moto_librarian
            August 18, 2016 at 3:47 pm #

            Your friend is kinder than I would have been. Because I would have just told that person to go fuck themselves. With an organic, non-GMO bunch of kale.

          • rachelmarie Acosta
            August 21, 2016 at 3:35 pm #

            It’s like someone saying to post partum Moms get more water and vitamin d and sunlight. What happens when your so depressed your dishes won’t allow your faucet to fit a cup underneath, what happens when you feel like leaving the house with two kids under two years old by yourself makes a walk out side seem like a hopeless trek. Maybe people can go off medicine but if they are already off it and can’t really be happy and smile at thier children…. Babies and children need to smiled and cuddled with.
            If you were mildly depressed and on medicine and then got off medicine please discuss a exit and the entry plan prior to birth with your OBGYN and Psy and GP. Have some appt made in advance nothing sucks worse than being told it’s going to be 6 weeks before we can get you in (psychiatrist)
            Mother cares for everyone. Let’s care for her after birth not to the point of ignoring the newborn but to the point of including the mother. I had to explain so I did not contradict my self.
            This is just a response to all the people who have never experienced depression but have lots of advice about how medicine just makes it worse. Why not just say include tak therapy with medicine, include sunlight vitamins with medicine, include SLEEP with medicine. Then you can re-evaluate later right 😉

  6. Marie Gregg
    August 16, 2016 at 12:17 am #

    The whole Vitamin K “debate” really perplexes me. I mean, vaccine denialsim is bad enough, but this is a shot that ensures your baby won’t bleed to death. Why, why, why would anyone refuse that?

    Makes me think of the heparin shots I had to have when I was in the hospital. They hurt. It sucked. But when the alternative was blood clots and death, enduring some pain made sense.

    I just don’t get it.

    • Irène Delse
      August 16, 2016 at 1:46 am #

      Magical thinking, like the Secret? If you don’t think about hemorrhage, it won’t happen? Something like that.

      • AA
        August 16, 2016 at 10:48 am #

        well one NCB gneius said that if babies were designed to have a higher level of Vitamin K they would have been born that way.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          August 16, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

          well one NCB gneius said that if babies were designed to have a higher level of Vitamin K they would have been born that way.

          And of course, the ones that don’t have a high enough level of Vitamin K deserve to die.

          • Monkey Professor for a Head
            August 16, 2016 at 4:00 pm #

            Bad things only happentobad people, and if something bad happens to you, then you must have done something wrong.

            I’m being sarcastic of course, but I think deep down many people do feel this way, even if on a subconscious level. It’s a kind of defence mechanism I guess – X,y,z sounds scary, so I have to convince myself it won’t happen to me by looking at all the ways other people bring it on themselves. It’s seems like a common mindset among antivaxxers and hardcore NCBers.

        • Guest
          August 16, 2016 at 4:29 pm #

          I like to think that one of the ways *I* designed my children was by arranging for them to have a boosted immune system through vaccines, and reduced risk of bleeding through vitamin K shot. *That’s* design. Nature is just luck with a little bit of evolutionary biology.

          • Monkey Professor for a Head
            August 16, 2016 at 5:36 pm #

            The whole reason that humans are as successful as we are is that we evolved to have large intelligent brains. The most natural thing we can do is to use them.

        • Puffin
          August 16, 2016 at 7:57 pm #

          People generally really have a terrible understanding of evolution but that never seems to stop the woo types from using it as an argument for why medical intervention is bad.

          Nature is not some wholesome, all-knowing, benevolent mistress who lovingly cares for each of her children. Mother Nature is vicious and evolution an emotionless mechanism that doesn’t care one whit about whether a particular individual lives or dies.

      • Charybdis
        August 16, 2016 at 5:27 pm #

        No, no, no. They just need their mothers to firmly command them to “Stop Bleeding” and blow some cinnamon candy breath on them. Or give the baby a sip of mom’s placenta smoothie.

        They claim these things will stop a PPH in its tracks…why would they not work for a deficient Vit. K bleed?

  7. Dr Kitty
    August 15, 2016 at 6:29 pm #

    We got the reminder that #2 needs his MMR next month, and #1 piped up that she remembered getting a lollipop after her injections, and because her little bro is too small for a lollipop, maybe she could have his one and he could have some milk to cheer him up instead?
    No flies on that child.

    She’s also trying to persuade me to let her get earrings.

    The story is that my grandmother wouldn’t let my mother get her ears pierced, so she was 32 before she did, and vowed not to do the same to her children. So, as soon as my sisters and I started asking for earrings we got them (I think I was about 9, my sisters were maybe 7 or 8).

    My daughter, hearing this story, has decided she would like earrings, and yes, she has been told that it hurts.

    I’ve told her she can have them when she is responsible enough to look after the piercing while it heals and not lose any jewellery…which I have arbitrarily decided is 12.

    So untraumatised by needles my child associates them with sweets and wants piercings at 7.

    • momofone
      August 15, 2016 at 8:15 pm #

      Clearly it’s some sort of defense mechanism at work. Otherwise one could conclude that the needles didn’t warp her or impede her development, and the idea of that is just crazy!

    • Who?
      August 16, 2016 at 4:58 am #

      Sounds like your mum and I shared an experience there, though I had mine done a little earlier than 32.

      I took the same line with my daughter as you are-this is what it will take to look after them, when you’re able to attend reliably to minor wound management, we’ll talk again.

      She had them done around age 12, almost ended up with only one as it hurt so much. She also wasn’t too impressed with the reality of the little gun they use to make the holes.

    • Gene
      August 16, 2016 at 9:29 am #

      When #1 got her kindergarten vaccines (DTaP, VZV, MMR, Influenza, and IPV), she was quite perturbed at getting four shots (we usually do the nasal flu). But after she got them, she told everyone (including strangers at the grocery store) that she didn’t need any more shots until she was 11! When #2 was due to get his, #1 kept telling him over and over he wouldn’t need any more until 11.

    • AnnaPDE
      August 16, 2016 at 11:49 am #

      I had my ears pierced at age 8 and never lost jewellery until recently… The comfy rings are just too tricky to take out with small hands. 😉
      But seriously I’d advise going to an actual piercer with proper equipment, i.e. needles. Not only are the guns used by your typical beautician more painful and damaging, they also can’t be completely sterilised. Ick.

    • Roadstergal
      August 16, 2016 at 12:54 pm #

      My two cents are in total agreement with AnnaPDE – take her to a legit piercing place, not a place with a gun. As she mentioned, guns can’t be sterilized, and are a pretty traumatic and infection-prone way to put holes in you. I always check for a current autoclave certificate and freshly autoclaved needles… and decent sterile technique.

      The tricky part for a little kid is keeping the piercing clean – soap and water and moving the jewelry gently in the hole. I didn’t start getting pierced until college. :p

      • Irène Delse
        August 16, 2016 at 1:05 pm #

        My niece for her ears pierced this summer, and she’s five and a half. Since her mother is OK with cleaning the ear herself, why not. The lady at the shop sold her an antiseptic solution that makes things easier, and the kid only has to twirl gently the earrings a few times.

        • Kelly
          August 18, 2016 at 12:18 pm #

          I have gotten all my girl’s ears pierced before they were two. I took care of them and it seems that the younger they are, the easier it is to deal with it. I got mine at 12 and didn’t have any issues either.

      • Dr Kitty
        August 16, 2016 at 6:06 pm #

        Finding a legitimate piercing place willing to pierce children is almost an oxymoron, 12 is the absolute minimum for most places, and that is with a parent accompanying.

        I had my ears pierced with a gun as a child and would not go that route for her.

        I am aware of what the post- piercing care will be, but I’d much rather wait until she can do it herself and I don’t have the hassle.

        I’ve lost a LOT of earrings over the years, including a full bezel diamond and gold stud fairly recently, and I have a kid who can’t be trusted to come home from school with both socks and all her hair clips.

        I have no issue with younger kids having their ears pierced, I’m just about making my life as easy as possible.

  8. sdsures
    August 15, 2016 at 3:58 pm #

    Why do some crunchy parents suggest giving Vitamin K orally instead of the shot? Is it their own latent fear of needles being projected onto the baby? The baby will never remember it.

    • Guest
      August 15, 2016 at 4:26 pm #

      I swear it’s just so they can get one over on doctors. “Well, I know all about this treatment here that’s just as good, why don’t YOU know about it? Aren’t you an EXPERT?” And then they can just smug their way home.

    • Monkey Professor for a Head
      August 15, 2016 at 4:52 pm #

      I think for some it’s that they mentally associate vitamin K injections with vaccines.

      Although given the amount of antivax memes I’ve seen with ridiculously large needles, maybe latent needlephobia does play a significant role.

    • Sarah
      August 15, 2016 at 5:11 pm #

      My former colleague, not remotely crunchy, opted to have it orally because she thought it was cruel to give a baby an injection and hurt them so soon after birth. Sigh. I don’t think she was afraid of needles, since she had tattoos.

      • sdsures
        August 15, 2016 at 5:17 pm #

        Hurt the baby? Come on now, we all have to do things we don’t like, especially when it comes to being parents. Being a good parent isn’t always about being your child’s best friend.

        • Madtowngirl
          August 15, 2016 at 5:40 pm #

          I straight up admit it broke my heart to see my baby scream when she got her first round of shots. I have a history of fainting when I see blood draws, too. But the thought of my baby contracting diphtheria or giving my immunocompromised sister measles….now that would REALLY break my heart. Sometimes you have to endure a little distress to ensure you stay healthy.

          • momofone
            August 15, 2016 at 5:57 pm #

            I was a mess (inside) when I had to take my son to the hospital for bloodwork and a shot for strep. He was scared and didn’t want to go after a previous bad experience, and I had to carry him physically. It sucked, but it was necessary, and beat the hell out of the alternative, which I supposed would have been not treating it? We did it, stopped at the closest Mexican restaurant on the way home (chips and cheese are his favorite things ever), and life went on. I hope the baby with the candy cane cord will be as lucky.

          • guest
            August 15, 2016 at 10:43 pm #

            Me too. My NICU babies got regular heel sticks for tests, and the time I was present for one I wanted to cry and faint, I couldn’t stand the way he cried. If I could have comforted him by holding him, that would have made me feel better, but they didn’t like me holding him much.

          • Megan
            August 16, 2016 at 11:31 am #

            I was much more a mess for my babies getting repeated heel sticks and my second getting an IV placed when they were readmitted for jaundice. The cries from those were just heartbreaking and I couldn’t hold them or comfort in any way. At least for shots I can hold them and I know they are quick and easy (unlike my second’s IV placement which took multiple attempts).

          • Inmara
            August 16, 2016 at 1:04 am #

            Call me shitmom but I didn’t see even the first round of vaccines as a big deal. Baby was crying, sure, but I nursed and cuddled him immediately and he calmed down. Recently he turned 1 year old and got two shots, and he didn’t cry at all, just gasped (I explained him that it will hurt a bit, gave a cuddly toy to hold on and all was over in less than a minute). And I’m less anxious about him contacting other children since he’s got the first chickenpox vaccine (that’s a big hole in our vaccination schedule, many parents don’t take chickenpox seriously and it’s not as strongly recommended as other vaccines).

          • Monkey Professor for a Head
            August 16, 2016 at 2:05 am #

            For my sons vaccines, I went in with the mindset that if I was upset, my son would pick up on that and be more upset. I don’t know if it helped him, but it helped me cope with it. He cried, I fed him, and he settled down. It was a piece of cake compared to the time I accidentally cut his fingernail too short when he was a newborn – I bawled my eyes out!

            That mindset has been a bit of a mantra for me when dealing with motherhood, and I do find that it helps me stay calm usually. Today, not so much unfortunately 🙁 I’m counting down the hours to bedtime!

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            August 16, 2016 at 10:49 am #

            Any mom who says she’s never counted down the hours to bedtime is either on at least three controlled substances or is lying through her teeth. 😉

          • Megan
            August 16, 2016 at 11:29 am #

            Or gotten through the morning by counting down to nap time…

          • Monkey Professor for a Head
            August 16, 2016 at 5:38 pm #

            Thanks, that made me smile. So far today is better, but it is only 7:37 am.

          • Kelly
            August 18, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

            I go get my flu shot at the pharmacy and they watch while I get it. I think it helps to see how I react and I had a good conversation with the oldest about it hurting but that we don’t need to go into hysterics about it. I have no issues with shots though.

          • Madtowngirl
            August 16, 2016 at 10:27 am #

            Nah, I’d never call you a shit mom for vaccinating. 🙂 I’m a relatively empathetic person, so others’ pain really affects me. However, thanks for the idea of giving a toy during shots! I’m going to try that at my daughter’s 15 month appointment.

          • Inmara
            August 16, 2016 at 11:21 am #

            Our pediatrician office has lots of toys for distraction during exams and shots – so we just grabbed one at hands reach. If I would expect some unpleasant visit to doctor, I would bring his own toy to give something familiar.

          • Sonja Henie
            August 22, 2016 at 1:30 am #

            Car keys work if you don’t have anything else on hand.

          • Linden
            August 16, 2016 at 10:31 am #

            Mine was very good with all his previous shots as a baby but got a recent HepA one. He is now 2 years old. He *screamed*, threw himself on the floor, with looks that basically said, “TRAITOR!” and would only be comforted with a food bribe.
            That’s because, at this moment in his toddlerhood, he is a complete drama queen.

          • Inmara
            August 16, 2016 at 11:23 am #

            I expect that we’ll have to bring food bribes into SOP at some point in the future, but for now my authority (“It’s OK, it will be over in a moment!”) and cuddly toy is enough.

          • Kelly
            August 18, 2016 at 12:21 pm #

            I have found that dum dums are the best “doctor candy.” It keeps their hands busy and it takes a while to eat it which distracts them. I use them every time we go to the doctor to either keep the other kids quiet or to quiet the kid who is getting the shot.

          • Megan
            August 16, 2016 at 11:28 am #

            I look forward to shots because I know my kids will sleep through the night. (Plus, you know, protection from VPD) I’m a shitmom too!

          • Lucy
            August 16, 2016 at 11:32 am #

            Totally with you on this. Looking for the chickenpox vaccine for my baby during the next month (is also not on the regular vaccines list in Mexico) Is not a big deal and is not that painfull. My babied stops crying in a few seconds and even plays with the nurses afterwars. I had chickenpox so i can told you that is worse than the vaccine.

          • demodocus
            August 16, 2016 at 4:57 pm #

            me neither. their father, on the other hand, had a nurse laughing because he reacted more strongly than his own little son getting a flu shot.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            August 16, 2016 at 10:48 am #

            Yep. When DD got shots, especially as a newborn, my hind/lizard brain was screaming “don’t stick a needle into that tiny, innocent baby!” Fortunately, my higher-thinking brain kicked in and said “BS, better a needle stick, however sad, than the flu/chicken pox/polio/et all, she’ll forget all about it after a cuddle and some food.”

          • Kelly
            August 18, 2016 at 12:20 pm #

            Me too. I was so glad to have the vaccinations but those first set of shots always get me teary eyed. The nurse is amazingly quick and I think they hate being held down more than the pain of the shot at that age. As soon as I picked them up, they stopped crying and it was like it never happened. I think taking off the band aids was more traumatic for them than the actual shot.

          • Sonja Henie
            August 22, 2016 at 1:29 am #

            Yes, the little ones quit crying when the hurting stops, which is pretty quick. Toddlers and preschoolers, OTOH! I once had a kid run up to me in a store and say “there’s the nurse who gave me my shots!”

          • Mariana
            August 18, 2016 at 5:36 pm #

            Oh, it sure broke my heart! Specially the lip quivering before crying and that look of “you betrayed me!!” they make. But still, better than getting sick. I used to cry with them when they got shots… I’m better at not crying now, but it breaks my heart.

          • sdsures
            August 19, 2016 at 7:19 am #

            Better a short scream than wheezing and death from pertussis.

        • Rhybellious
          August 16, 2016 at 4:09 pm #

          I regularly remind my teenagers that while I wish them the blessing of close friends, I personally will never be among them. My job is to be their parent, not their buddy.

        • Chant de la Mer
          August 18, 2016 at 4:05 pm #

          I’ve actually done my children’s immunizations, in conjunction with my oversight FNP and with my husband there as the parent, as well as their well child exams. I work in a very small rural clinic and I’m all there is for healthcare so I see my family rather regularly. All the visits on them are reviewed by my FNP or referral doctor though because they are family. My kids are very cooperative though for exams!

      • Charybdis
        August 15, 2016 at 5:33 pm #

        I wonder what these “No Vitamin K shot for the newborn, it is CRUEL and UNUSUAL punishment for them!” types think about the PKU test,

        What are they going to do when/if the speshul snowflake needs to have tubes in their ears or their tonsils out? Breaks a bone? Appendectomy? Or worst of all, chemo for some sort of cancer?

        Will they refuse surgery or other invasive treatment because it is “too cruel” for their widdle darlings? I can’t even begin to understand this insane thinking.

        • Madtowngirl
          August 15, 2016 at 5:37 pm #

          Well, if you’re MAM, you’ll just take them to a chiropractor when they break a bone! Maybe use a mending tincture to magically fix everything!

        • Rhybellious
          August 16, 2016 at 12:12 pm #

          Exactly. It seems to me that these people have a fundamental inability to calculate and weigh risk. Potential risk of baby getting vitamin k? Let’s be generous and say nerve damage was a substantial risk. Localized nerve damage versus neurological devastation. Hrm…… I think a small amount of localized nerve damage (and btw I don’t actually believe this is a “thing”) would be a pretty small price to pay for a living baby with his/her brain intact.

        • Irène Delse
          August 16, 2016 at 12:52 pm #

          I think for most parents, their child’s first serious illness is a crash course in reality.

        • Sarah
          August 16, 2016 at 3:18 pm #

          The weird thing is, she was fairly sensible otherwise. I don’t think the question of refusing anything else invasive would even have crossed her mind.

      • Lena
        August 16, 2016 at 3:49 pm #

        I know way too many people with multiple tattoos that claim to be afraid of needles. Yeah, I don’t get it either.

        • Monkey Professor for a Head
          August 16, 2016 at 4:02 pm #

          I’ve come across a few IV drug addicts who were afraid of needles too.

      • sdsures
        August 17, 2016 at 10:27 pm #


      • sdsures
        August 19, 2016 at 7:19 am #


    • AnnaPDE
      August 15, 2016 at 10:36 pm #

      Well, shots hurt and if the oral route worked just as well, why not go for it? Unfortunately it doesn’t.

      • Allie
        August 16, 2016 at 1:27 am #

        Yeah, that seemed logical when offered the nasal spray version of the flu shot for my 2 year old last year, but actually, she found that far more traumatizing than the shot would have been. I was beside myself when she got her 2-month vaccinations (shots suck!), but the benefits far, far, far outweigh the risks. And next year, no nasal spray, please. Just shots all ’round.

        • AnnaPDE
          August 16, 2016 at 11:57 am #

          What, there’s a nasal spray flu shot, and it’s not even registered here in Australia? Damn, it sucks to be so far behind on the cool new shots. The whole family hates shots with a passion but even the 8 month old youngest kid is fine with nasal sprays.

          • Empliau
            August 16, 2016 at 12:06 pm #

            No longer – at least here in the northern hemisphere, and I presume chez you too – the nasal provides almost no protection against H1N1, which has been the dominant strain for the last few years. It took a while to establish this, because two years ago the shot wasn’t a good match for the circulating strains, so effectiveness was hard to establish. Last year the shot provided good protection and the nasal spray virtually none (about 3% IIRC). So back to the jab it is.

      • sdsures
        August 17, 2016 at 10:27 pm #

        Life hurts sometimes. They need to grow up. The baby will never remember it.

        • AnnaPDE
          August 18, 2016 at 11:53 am #

          By that token it’d be also fine to operate on babies without anaesthesia. Or use epidurals, really, because even if you remember that birth hurts a lot, who cares about that when you get a baby at the end…
          Nah, sorry, this argument doesn’t fly. Sometimes pain us unavoidable, but otherwise let’s avoid it.

          • sdsures
            August 19, 2016 at 7:10 am #

            So let’s let babies have avoidable brain haemorrhages, then? Sorry, no – my kids will be vaxxed and get the Vitamin K shot, as well as any other things that need doing to keep them alive and healthy.

            Yes birth DOES hurt, and an epidural is a personal choice that affects only the mother, and not the baby. Sometimes you have to think about people other than yourself. Good luck with that.

          • AnnaPDE
            August 19, 2016 at 10:22 am #

            Read again. No, let’s not have avoidable brain haemorrhages. That’s why LO had the VitK needle, and all his shots. However, I can understand when parents are looking for a way to avoid the pain, and enough alt-med healthcare providers pretend that the oral VitK is good enough that I can’t blame them for believing it.
            The jab is necessary because the oral route doesn’t work. Not for getting a newborn used to the harshness or reality.

          • sdsures
            August 19, 2016 at 1:02 pm #

            Guess they don’t consider acupuncture needles painful. Weird. I said the parents were the ones that needed to get used to the harshness of reality; the baby will never remember it, and the parents will become neurotic instead. 😉

          • sdsures
            August 19, 2016 at 7:12 am #

            Life doesn’t come risk-free. If you think it does, I’m afraid you signed up for the wrong event.

          • Sonja Henie
            August 22, 2016 at 1:25 am #

            Slippery slope is a logical fallacy. A shot =/= surgery without anesthesia.

          • AnnaPDE
            August 22, 2016 at 9:40 am #

            That’s not slippery slope, it’s showing how a stated argument doesn’t work in generality, by applying it in a situation with higher stakes.
            “They don’t remember anyway” would allow to do pretty much anything to babies, regardless of pain factor. “Life hurts sometimes” is just a shrug and gives no reason to ever reduce/avoid pain.
            In contrast, “The nicer way doesn’t work well enough” would have been a good argument. As a mathematician, agreeing on the final answer isn’t good enough; how we arrived at it matters too.

          • Sonja Henie
            August 22, 2016 at 10:11 am #

            That is “slippery slope”. It’s showing how someone takes comment about a shot, a procedure adults consider unpleasant but tolerable, and runs with it to surgery w/o anesthesia, something none of us would consider.


  9. BeatriceC
    August 15, 2016 at 3:23 pm #

    These sorts of “arguments” drive me batty. Life is sometimes unpleasant. That’s reality. Sometimes small unpleasantness is worth it to avoid a major traumatic event. I wish parent didn’t take healthy kids for granted.

    Off topic, but related: we just got back from the hand/arm surgeon with bothe of the boys who have MHE. OK is happy because he’s getting the last of his hardware out. YK, on the other hand (pardon the pun) needs major work to try to salvage his dominant arm. The work they did a year ago wasn’t enough, and the deformity is actually worse now, as he hit a growth spurt and all the progress that had been made was undone.

  10. graysmama
    August 15, 2016 at 2:18 pm #

    Had my second baby 6 days ago through repeat c section. By the time I was stitched up and brought into the recovery room to have skin to skin time with her, she’d already had Vitamin K and Hep B. With my husband there of course. Not really a big deal. But then I already have all the strikes going against me from the natural everything anti vaccine crowd with this baby: repeat c section and went in knowing that I wanted to combo feed breast milk and formula after an IGT diagnosis with my first child due to PCOS. The hospital lactation consultant was reasonably supportive of the combo feeding to an extent but after nursing with the SNS failed due to latch issues and raw and bleeding nipples she wanted my plan to pump and bottle feed breast milk and formula to just be a “24 hour break then try a nipple shield”. Tried it yesterday and the nipple shield was a nightmare so going to pump and give her bottles of breast milk and formula. Not worth it to fight my screaming unhappy baby to latch to a nipple shield when we can get right to snuggling with a bottle.

    • August 15, 2016 at 3:49 pm #

      Congratulations on your brand-new baby! I’m glad pumping and formula are working well for you. My sis-in-law found that breast-feeding made her feel trapped so she switched to exclusive pumping and she and my nephew are thriving.

    • demodocus
      August 15, 2016 at 9:29 pm #


    • Megan
      August 16, 2016 at 11:32 am #


    • sdsures
      August 19, 2016 at 7:14 am #


      (What’s IGT? I also have PCOS. Nasty disorder, but I’m so glad you have a baby now!)

  11. Inmara
    August 15, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

    For some reason, Vitamin K is administered orally in my country. IIRC it doesn’t give a dose as big as injection but is deemed appropriate for newborn care (parents have to give two subsequent doses at home though). I think it would be a good option to offer to crunchy crowd as few drops of liquid never seem as scary as a needle. Also, there could be an organic gluten free vegan VitK drops, I bet internet money that many folks would give it to their babies without a question!

    • CSN0116
      August 15, 2016 at 2:48 pm #

      The most high risk populations could not be relied upon to follow up with two at-home doses :/ You probably live in a country with visiting postpartum nurses? Or extended maternity leave? Or universal prescription drug coverage? In the States we lack all of that, making at-home oral doses risky business.

      • Inmara
        August 15, 2016 at 3:25 pm #

        Extended maternity leave – yes, prescription drug coverage – only partial (and not applying to Vit K, but it was quite cheap), postpartum nurse visit – only one and to check on baby (mom is on her own once out of hospital). So it’s not reliable but better than outright refusal.

      • Inmara
        August 15, 2016 at 3:29 pm #

        To elaborate my point – the type of mother to refuse Vit K shot is (usually) not the struggling working mom who wouldn’t have time and money to pick up prescription dose. It’s the type of mom who would go great lengths to EBF, babywear, cloth diaper and prepare purees of organic vegetables when introducing solids, so giving two doses of vitamin drops wouldn’t be a daunting task for her – if only she understood the importance and be reassured that it’s not “scary chemicals” but, well, something “Nature made for your baby to be safe”.

        • CSN0116
          August 15, 2016 at 4:49 pm #

          Oh, I totally get your point. And I agree. I just fear if it became mainstreamed that the oral was “better” than giving the injection …what could happen in the US. You would have tons of kids under-dosed.

      • Mishimoo
        August 16, 2016 at 8:23 am #

        Australia here, but my little sister definitely had the oral vitamin K and my little brother might have had it. As far as I know, she was never given the at-home doses because I distinctly remember seeing it in the fridge for ages, unopened. We did see a paediatrician at that point, but my parents were starting to dip into the woo.

    • Julia B
      August 16, 2016 at 11:02 am #

      I had to give my son oral vitamin K daily for the first two weeks of his life as the country I live in (the Netherlands) also doesn’t do shots. What a hassle! I forgot a few times, even though I have post-graduate education in nutrition, I have written blog posts on the importance of vitamin K to prevent newborn bleeding, and no major postpartum issues. The big issue with the oral vitamin K is that people (like me!) forget, and in a few cases, infants cannot absorb the vitamin K well when it is given orally. The shot is much more effective in preventing vitamin K deficiency bleeding for these two reasons.

      There are some old-ish publications that linked vitamin K injections with childhood leukemia, but only from one research group – other research groups looked at it without finding any association. In my opinion the first group had a chance finding. That’s why some people are leery of the shots.

      • Inmara
        August 16, 2016 at 11:24 am #

        Daily?! What a hassle indeed! We had one dose at hospital and then two doses with 10 day intervals at home. Still possible to mess up, but missing one or two days to give next one wouldn’t be too bad I guess.

        • Julia B
          August 16, 2016 at 3:11 pm #

          The dumbest thing was that there were all these warnings not to give more than one dose per day, despite the fact that many countries actually do just that! I was tempted to just give all 28 drops at once to get it over with but I didn’t want to be tut-tutted by the (mandatory) postpartum help

      • moto_librarian
        August 16, 2016 at 11:25 am #

        Yeah, let’s tell exhausted new parents to remember to give oral vitamin K for multiple days. That’s so much easier than a shot. /snark

  12. Cartman36
    August 15, 2016 at 12:24 pm #

    What concerns me about this is that it is a slippery slope. If we start mandating prophylactic care, where does it end? Would then public health authorities want to mandate breastfeeding for a specific period of time under the guise of it being preventive care and best for baby?

    • Azuran
      August 15, 2016 at 12:52 pm #

      I think there is room for more regulation without going into the extremes. Breastfeeding is in a different category since in involves the mothers body.
      Before the baby is born, I think the mother’s bodily autonomy is more important than the baby.
      But once the baby is born they become 2 separate entities. You cannot force a mother to give blood, bone marrow or a kidney to her baby (most mom obviously would, but you cannot make it mandatory) So you cannot make breastfeeding mandatory either.

      An adult can take whatever risks they want with their life. But baby’s and children should not have this choice made for them. Especially when those choices are directly opposed the medical consensus and have clearly overwhelming benefits with very little risk.

      Edited to have: And in a way, infant feeding is already under health authorities control. There are only 2 acceptable ways to feed your baby (unless instructed otherwise by an actual doctor): Breastmilk and approved baby formula.
      Feeding your baby anything else will be considered child endangerment

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      August 15, 2016 at 12:57 pm #

      That is certainly a serious concern. That’s why we limit restrictions to those that are a matter of life or death and for which there is copious evidence, like car seats.

    • MI Dawn
      August 15, 2016 at 2:43 pm #

      We do mandate that a baby must be fed. And that he/she needs to be given appropriate food for age/growth. I’m fine with that. I’m not fine with a breastfeeding mandate.

    • August 15, 2016 at 4:14 pm #

      My concern for Vitamin-K refusing parents is that I often do not believe that they are giving truly informed consent.

      When I read parenting blog that explain their rationale, the main concern is “The shot may cause my baby pain and I am afraid of chemicals that I don’t immediately recognize the name of” followed by a plan of eating a shit-load of Vit.K so the baby will get enough. Plus, if something does go wrong, doctors will save my baby.

      There is never an acknowledgement that doctors may not be able to save your baby. Not every baby survives brain surgery. If other organs start bleeding, you might have a baby who is a bit fussy, a bit sleepy and then never wakes up. I worry that these are the parents who when I mention that my little brother is buried in the infant section of a cemetery are completely flabbergasted. After all, babies don’t die. (Seriously. I’ve been hearing that one for years and generally don’t feel like punching the other person anymore….usually.)

      Never mind that the placenta sucks at transporting Vitamin K and breasts don’t put much Vitamin K in milk.

      • Chant de la Mer
        August 15, 2016 at 9:01 pm #

        You know, the idea that people don’t realize that babies die just strikes me as a pretty reasonable explanation for the risk taking. I’ve know since I was a young child that babies can die because I should have 3 more cousins than I do because of stillbirth and infant death. I’ve always been aware that bad things can happen to babies and could not understand how people were unaware that babies could die but it seems that you could be correct that they just don’t really think that babies can die.

        • Juana
          August 19, 2016 at 3:08 am #

          I think that explains a lot of the risks parents take with their babies/children (including not vaccinating) – and that’s why this is a fairly recent development (as in “over the past 30 years”). Dead babies were too common more than a generation ago, so you really had a hard time ignoring the danger back then.
          Combine that with logical fallacies that have always been there (wishful thinking, “what should not be cannot be”, “what happens to bad people can’t happen to the virtuous”, etc. pp.) and you have these parents.

    • Sarah
      August 15, 2016 at 5:16 pm #

      Vitamin K doesn’t require another human being to provide bodily fluids, so that would seem unlikely.

    • lawyer jane
      August 15, 2016 at 12:19 pm #

      It’s hard to figure out what the actual policy proposal is there. Allowing CNMs to practice more freely to provide well-woman and prenatal care in underserved areas seems like a good idea. Allowing them to deliver babies unsupervised at all by doctors seems like a bad idea. I doubt that rural shortages of OB-GYNs are going to be solved by allowing CNMs to do homebirths … And as far as CNMs delivering in hospitals — isn’t that already allowed, or does something need to change to permit that?

      • MI Dawn
        August 15, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

        CNMs can only deliver in hospitals (depending on the state), if the MD they have an agreement with has privledges there. And it’s very difficult to get solo privledges in a lot of other states.

        I get that MDs don’t want the increased malpractice risk (though all good CNMs carry their own malpractice insurance – or should!). But there has to be a better way to handle things.

      • demodocus
        August 15, 2016 at 1:40 pm #

        yeah, i wasn’t sure what they were talking about, but i’m groggy today.

      • August 15, 2016 at 4:29 pm #

        I live in a county without any OB/GYNs and without any hospitals. The nearest OB’s are between 30-45 minutes away in good weather. We have three hospitals in ~30 minutes drive in good weather with clear roads, but in the area of Michigan I live in, ice storms are possible between October and April with a major winter storm each month in December-February. Since I am due in February, there is a good chance I will be living at my parents’ home in a suburb 5 minutes away from the hospital rather than worrying about a 90 minute drive while in active labor.

        And actually, I don’t have it too badly. There are plenty of OB/GYNs in the two nearest counties. I’d be much more concerned if I lived in Upper Peninsula or in the northern central section of the Lower Peninsula where populations are so thin that three counties make up one school district.

        I think increasing the number of OB/GYN residents is a good idea, but that alone won’t solve the problem. The set-up costs of a new office would be pricey where I live since everything would need to be onsite – but I don’t know if there is enough demand to support more than one OB/GYN. Perhaps they could have rotating support with a practice located in the two major cities for deliveries where I live, but that’s not a workable option in some of the more remote areas.

        • Chant de la Mer
          August 15, 2016 at 9:05 pm #

          Where I live there are only regional hospitals that do deliveries and if you live somewhere remote, which applies to the majority of the state population, you must move near your closest regional hospital four weeks before your due date. Transportation times run upwards of 6 hours, even for medevacs.

        • AA
          August 16, 2016 at 11:09 am #

          A lot of healthcare systems have outreach clinics. A provider will travel to a more sparsely populated area infrequently (1x a month or less) so that some patients don’;t have to travel as far.

    • TicToc
      August 16, 2016 at 5:08 pm #

      Just to give a little more insight, until a few months ago there was a CNM owned and run practice in Asheville, NC that closed after 19 years. They had OBGYN oversight from an entirely different practice. The CNMs did mostly hospital births, but did attend homebirths for women meeting strict risk out policies, albeit off their liability insurance. I would imagine their closing left a void in western NC where CPMs are illegal, but practice rampantly and often irresponsibly.
      Although not as safe as a hospital birth, having the option of a regulated CNM attended homebirth would most likely improve safety for women opting for a homebirth and not make it more dangerous.
      Some of the risks acceptable to CPMs in the state are outrageous. Worst of all those risks are rarely ever explained to mothers. The believe they are receiving quality care from highly qualified midwives. When in reality it is illegal for their “midwife” to carry as much as oxygen, and said midwives have often only seen a few dozen births in their life.

  13. namaste863
    August 15, 2016 at 11:50 am #

    Errrrrr, exactly what sort of harm does the Vit K shot supposedly do? And why will they turn down vitamin k at hospitals but think nothing of popping supplements from the local Whole Foods that are unregulated and therefore contain God knows what? Can someone please explain this to me?

    • Cyndi
      August 15, 2016 at 12:17 pm #

      I got caught up in this “debate” the other day with a father who claimed that, “the jab is cruel” to inflict on the newborn. He was completely hung up on a quick jab with a very small needle. And that is cruel compared to emergent brain surgery?

    • Madtowngirl
      August 15, 2016 at 12:30 pm #

      Needles and drugs regulated by the FDA = bad. Vitamins, supplements, etc. that are not regulated and have been found to not really have what they claim in them = good.

      That’s the logic, as far as I can figure.

    • Fleur
      August 15, 2016 at 12:37 pm #

      The usual argument seems to boil down to “If newborn babies are deficient in Vitamin K, there must be a good reason for it because God/ Nature (delete as preferred) doesn’t make mistakes”. Alternatively, “Breastmilk is the perfect food so, if breastmilk doesn’t prevent Vitamin K deficiency, then Vitamin K deficiency must be a good thing”. Add some discredited scaremongering about leukaemia and list the ingredients in the Vitamin K shot to try and make it sound scary, and there you have it.

      • Fleur
        August 15, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

        Oh, and I forgot “Oooh, if Vitamin K deficiency is such a “scary” thing, why hasn’t the human race died out by now?”

        Because, obviously, there’s no fucking middle ground between (i) medical conditions that will bring about the complete destruction of humanity and (ii) medical conditions that won’t bring about the complete destruction of humanity but are worth trying to prevent because they cause unnecessary human tragedies.

        • namaste863
          August 15, 2016 at 1:01 pm #

          In other words, the usual nonsense.

          • Fleur
            August 15, 2016 at 3:22 pm #

            I was going to use a less polite word than “nonsense”, but yeah. 🙂

          • LaMont
            August 15, 2016 at 11:52 pm #

            It was “malarkey,” right?

          • namaste863
            August 16, 2016 at 2:00 am #

            How about bovine fecal matter?

      • AA
        August 15, 2016 at 1:34 pm #

        and what they mean by “god” is that “vitamin k injections are only available through a pharmacy to people with certain qualifications, ergo it must be bad.” Anything that challenges the scope of a traditional birth attendant i sbad.

        • Fleur
          August 15, 2016 at 3:17 pm #

          Depressing, isn’t it? “We’ve found a quick and easy intervention that can save tiny babies from a terrible death or permanent brain damage. But wait, we might have to admit that doctors actually have a purpose after all! Better say it’s completely unnecessary and probably evil.”

    • lilin
      August 15, 2016 at 1:27 pm #

      It’s an injection and that’s scary and unnatural. It’s medicalizing childbirth which, in principle, is always wrong. The sharp object and foreign substances causes stress to a newborn which might result in . . . anything.

    • September 6, 2016 at 3:53 am #


      “Ingestion is not injection/Big pharma bribes regulators!” Yes, it’s just as silly as it sounds.

  14. Mac Sherbert
    August 15, 2016 at 11:28 am #

    So maybe as part of informed consent parents should have to read the stories about the babies perms antsy damaged or who died because they did not get the shot. Yeah, I know fear mongering and dead baby card.

    • Mac Sherbert
      August 15, 2016 at 11:31 am #

      And I think this lady does a pretty good job of explaining the whole issue right down to all those scary ingredients.

      • RNMeg
        August 15, 2016 at 1:03 pm #

        This is a really interesting article! Thank you for posting it. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely to change any minds on the subject, though, since refusal of vitamin K (like refusal of vaccines) is a matter of irrational faith in “natural” and reason/science cannot change that belief.

    • Daleth
      August 15, 2016 at 11:47 am #

      Yeah, I know fear mongering and dead baby card.

      As I always say, if there’s a dead baby card to play, it’s because you’re doing something that might kill your baby.

      Which is kind of an important thing for parents to know–in fact, doctors are probably ethically obligated to tell them (i.e. to “play the dead baby card”).

    • Erin
      August 15, 2016 at 3:19 pm #

      That’s what worked for me. My NHS community midwife told me it was optional when we were making my basic “birth plan”. I didn’t have a clue what it was for so came home and googled it. Found a bunch of “woo” sites first and then I came across one describing how their baby almost bled to death.

  15. Gimme Some Loki
    August 15, 2016 at 10:45 am #

    It’s a freakin’ VITAMIN and a pretty damn safe one too. It’s not like doctors are stuffing polar bear liver in the babies’ mouths. What is with these people? I just can’t even.

    • sdsures
      August 19, 2016 at 7:17 am #

      Mmm, large quantity of meat. *hugry* Ooga-booga, cavewoman want MEAT! (But yeah, not polar bear liver. I have actually eaten whale blubber.)

  16. AA
    August 15, 2016 at 10:20 am #

    “It [Vitamin K] is a painful muscular injection that may compromise mother-child bonding and irritate or damage the nerves and muscles at the injection site.”

    Screw these ppl.

    • demodocus
      August 15, 2016 at 11:30 am #

      Potential nerve damage from a needle that lay people can get a 5 minute tutorial to use is a terrible risk, but your kid getting stuck and during your homebirth is a-ok. I don’t get it.

      • AA
        August 15, 2016 at 11:39 am #


        • August 15, 2016 at 12:04 pm #

          Hmph. My three-month old nephew got frequent ultrasounds during most of his gestation because his mom had pre-e that wasn’t responding well to meds.

          It’s probably a bit early yet, but he doesn’t seem to be an anti-social monster. In fact, he’s snuggly and smiles happily at people.

          Without the ultrasounds, the docs may not have realized that he was showing early signs of distress at 37 weeks. If this midwife had been his PCP, he’d be dead.

          • Amy M
            August 15, 2016 at 12:06 pm #

            Eh, my twins were exposed to lots of u/s. Granted, they are only 7, but they behave like typical 7yr old boys. I’m not really concerned, but even if there was a risk, the benefit was potential detection of TTTS in time to rescue them. Luckily, the TTTS never happened, but if it had, we’d have known asap.

          • August 15, 2016 at 12:17 pm #

            My mom got X-rays done when she was 7 months pregnant with my twin and I.

            I am completely confident that Sis and I received a larger dose of potentially harmful radiation from that one torso X-ray than a fetus could get from lots of medical u/s for the simple reason that X-rays are ionizing radiation while ultrasound is non-ionizing radiation. Sis and I are don’t show antisocial tendencies and we’re 34 so one of us would have shown them by now.

            Basic physics does a pretty good job of explaining why my nephew and your sons are unlikely to show “antisocial tendencies” due to ultrasounds as alleged by the HighlandMidwife……

          • Amy M
            August 15, 2016 at 12:54 pm #

            Oh absolutely! I think the u/s fear is way overblown. It makes sense that people who don’t know the difference between ionizing and non-ionizing radiation might fear u/’s, and they should ask—and then have their fears laid to rest. It is nothing like microwaving the fetus!

          • demodocus
            August 15, 2016 at 1:46 pm #

            we got a lot of u/s, too and although daughter is too little to show much yet, son is so sociable that it’s a bit alarming

          • LaMont
            August 15, 2016 at 3:31 pm #

            Oh no, what if alarming sociability was caused by the u/s??

          • Dr Kitty
            August 15, 2016 at 6:15 pm #

            Well, that explains both of mine.
            #1 talks happily to strangers about whatever pops into her head, and #2 smiles at complete strangers for no reason.
            Must be all the scans.

    • August 15, 2016 at 12:10 pm #

      You know what also fucks with mother-child bonding? When the baby dies.

      As a non-medical worker, I don’t even know where the Vitamin K injection is given – but logic dictates that the “irritated/damaged nerves and muscles” must fix themselves in short order because I’ve never met anyone in my years of PT that was getting PT because of a Vitamin K shot gone wrong. CP, joint replacements, athletic injuries but never Vitamin K shot injuries.

      • MI Dawn
        August 16, 2016 at 7:08 am #

        Vitamin K is given in the nice, meaty muscle of the baby’s thigh. It’s a very small (think insulin) needle. I can’t ever recall even seeing much bleeding, much less muscle damage.

    • j
      August 15, 2016 at 1:25 pm #

      “Bonding” is always what they turn to when every other claim they’ve made has been torn apart. It’s sad how easily manipulated new mothers are by what is essentially the argument that “your baby won’t love you if you don’t do as I say.”

      • Amy M
        August 15, 2016 at 1:39 pm #

        Man, I just keep thinking about super-glue every time I see/hear the “bonding” thing now. The crazies make it sound like either bonding is a new thing, that they alone know how to achieve, and you HAVE to do x,y,z for it to work–OR somehow, recently, mothers and babies have “forgotten” how to bond, and the NCB nuts have rediscovered some ancient wisdom that we (Westerners), in our technological glory, have lost. Why do they make such a big deal about it? If they spend so much time studying what is done in nature, why don’t they see that bonding generally happens without much thought or effort on the part of the parents and any other family/caregivers?

        We had a robin nesting in our rhododendron this summer. Now, I know its a bit different with birds, but still—the mother was constantly leaving the nest to find food for the babies, yet they always recognized her when she came back. We watched that nest from eggs to fledglings—all 3 hatched, and survived at least long enough to leave the nest. Despite the mother NOT sitting on the nest all day every day, those babies were well cared for, otherwise they would have died. If a bird, not known for its intellect, can manage to “bond” to its babies to get them to independence, surely any animal can do it.

    • lilin
      August 15, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

      Oh, it may! It may do anything! There’s no end to the things it may do!

      • AA
        August 15, 2016 at 1:35 pm #

        I think reading the highland midwife’s website may fry brain cells, so there’s that.

    • guest
      August 15, 2016 at 3:02 pm #

      OMG with the bonding again. Who wants to organize a Kickstarter with me to raise funds to buy little gift bags for all the NCB women? We can put some Crazy Glue in there, guaranteed to bond mother and baby in seconds, no matter what life-saving medical treatments doctors administer.

    • Margo
      August 16, 2016 at 2:42 am #

      Well it probably is a bit painful and there have been documented nerve damage to babies when the site for injection was not correct…..however, a baby dead from bleeding pretty much sees bonding gone….for ever. I have to say our information in NZ is pretty comprehensive, parents then have to give informed consent for injection or oral or opt not to give at all and this must be fully documented within the notes. If parents decide not to use injection or oral they are/should be given a written document re signs and symptoms of bleeding. On a personal level I find it difficult to accept the no VitK option.

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