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, the most common form is Konakion. If using Konakion 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
Translations and alternative formats of this information are available from Public Health Scotland.