It’s common after your delivery for doctors to give your baby vitamin K and eye antibiotics. But many parents wonder…is it really necessary?

Vitamin K Shot at Birth

Adults and children get vitamin K through their foods—like leafy green vegetables—and through bacterial processes that take place in your gut. Babies don’t get a lot of vitamin K through the placenta…breastmilk doesn’t have much either. If you’re nursing, you’ll especially want your baby to get some extra vitamin K.

Vitamin K helps blood clot and prevents serious bleeding. So, it’s very important that your little one gets a dose of vitamin K when they enter the world (and the AAP thinks so too!).

How Vitamin K is Given to Newborns

Most hospitals and doctors give a quick, tiny vitamin K shot. Some use drops, but it doesn’t have a good taste and many babies spit it out! Of course, parents aren’t excited about giving their little bug a shot post-birth—but it’s by far the easiest (and quickest) way for you to have peace of mind that vitamin K is preventing the risk of a serious disorder or complications.

Antibiotic Eye Ointment for Newborns

Ilotycin is an antibiotic ointment that is routinely put in the eyes of all newborns. It’s intended to prevent eye infections from common bacteria that can be passed on during birth or from STI’s. While STIs can be treated or cured with medication, your STI status can affect your delivery.

How Eye Medicine is Given to Newborns

Most hospitals will apply antibiotic ointment to a baby's eyes immediately after birth (some states mandate this by law, but parents can refuse it). The treatment has been around since the 1800s and was originally used to prevent blindness if the baby was exposed to gonorrhea. There are very few complications that can result from the medicine, but it’s not necessary if you’ve had good prenatal care and don’t have gonorrhea. 

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