Vitamin K and your new baby

Vitamin K helps blood to clot, which stops bleeding.

When babies are born they have very little vitamin K in their bodies and a small number of babies may bleed because of this. This is called vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB). It's rare, but can be very serious.

Vitamin K supplements

It’s recommended that all newborn babies have a vitamin K supplement to minimise the risk of any bleeding.

It’s offered straight after your baby's born. Your midwife will be able to give you information about it, but it’s up to you whether you agree to have it.

How it's given

There are 2 ways for your baby to have vitamin K:

  • By injection (vitamin K shot or jag), which is done once just after your baby's born
  • By mouth

If you choose to have the supplement by mouth, your baby will need:

  • 2 doses in the first week if you're feeding with formula (formula milk already has vitamin K in it)
  • 3 doses in the first week, and a third when they're a month old, if you're breastfeeding