“Heavy-handed persuasion tactics and the aggressive language of some medically-focused papers and websites on the subject of vitamin K are not only inappropriate, but they harm relationships and make it less likely that parents will reach out for help if a problem does occur. Sadly, the patriarchal, ‘I know best’ stance that is often taken in relation to the vitamin K decision can now be seen even in some of the books written by lay people, and it is patronising and counter-productive.
To my view, it is better to be honest about the pros and cons, to be clear about what we do and don’t know and to be open-minded to different ideas and approaches. I say that not because I want parents to decline vitamin K. I want parents to make the decision that is right for them and their baby, and I want professionals (and those who write on such topics) to treat parents in a respectful manner that acknowledges their intelligence, beliefs and viewpoint and engenders rather than endangers trust. Most parents are entirely capable of making up their own minds about whether or not they want an intervention for their baby and, in fact, many will have decided long before they meet a health care provider.”
– Sara Wickham
I don’t usually quote myself in quite this way, but I wanted to share a few snippets from Vitamin K and the Newborn (the second edition) with you. I wrote it partly for the parents who contact myself, other birth activists and childbirth and human rights organisations. Many of these parents have read and encountered these kind of persuasion tactics. Some have also been subject to disempowering language and sometimes even nasty attitudes when trying to make the decisions that are right for them.
This bullying has to stop.
If you’d like to know more, please see my book, Vitamin K and the Newborn, which has been written for both parents and professionals. Sign up to my newsletter list for updates. Or, if you’re a midwife or a birth worker who is interested in learning more, we often chat about topics such as these in my online courses.