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June 1983

Vitamin K Deficiency and Breast-feeding

Author Affiliations

Methodist Hospital Indianapolis

Am J Dis Child. 1983;137(6):601-602. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1983.02140320077020

Hemorrhagic disease of the newborn was described in 1894 by Townsend.1 It occurs in the first week of life, independent of trauma, anoxia, or infection, and appears to be a self-limiting condition if unassociated with life-threatening hemorrhage. It is caused by vitamin K deficiency, which has been reported in several infants 4 to 8 weeks old. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all newborns receive 0.5 to 1 mg of phytonadione, an aqueous colloidal suspension.2 With the increase in alternative birthing and breast-feeding, this recommendation needs to be reemphasized.

Report of Cases.—Case 1.—A 5-week-old infant had seizures and apnea after 24 hours of increasing irritability and poor feeding. He was born after a 42-week uncomplicated pregnancy to a gravida 2, para 1 mother with a "self-trained midwife" assisting at the uncomplicated home delivery. Birth weight was 3.9 kg. He did not receive vitamin K or