Vitamin K is used by the body to form clots and to stop bleeding. Babies are born with very little vitamin K stored in their bodies. A vitamin K shot given at birth is the best way to prevent low levels of vitamin K and vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB).
When bleeding happens because of low levels of vitamin K, this is called “vitamin K deficiency bleeding” or VKDB. VKDB is a serious and potentially life-threatening cause of bleeding in infants up to 6 months of age.
VKDB is rare in the United States, but only because most newborns get the vitamin K shot. In areas of the world where the vitamin K shot isn’t available, VKDB is more common and many cases of VKDB have been reported from these countries.
Moms are encouraged to eat healthy and take multivitamins as needed, neither can increase levels in breast milk enough to provide all of the vitamin K an infant needs.