Want to raise a natural baby? There are lots of decisions to make. Find out which routine newborn procedures are needed, and which you can skip.

Alternatives to Routine Newborn Procedures

Most of us are so fixated on keeping our labor interventions low that we don’t realize that we’ll be faced with many choices regarding post-birth interventions for our baby.

In this post, we review the standard newborn procedures, show how many are not evidence-based, and provide natural alternatives.

Antibiotic eye ointment

Antibiotic eye ointment, erythromycin, is given to newborns to prevent blindness that is caused by a mother infected with gonorrhea or chlamydia. Unfortunately, this has become a standard procedure, even with moms who tested negative for these two sexually transmitted infections. This is presumably because both infections can exist without symptoms.

Many women who want to raise a natural baby would rather not give unnecessary antibiotics for a few reasons. Use of antibiotics can harm a baby’s gut health, setting them up for increased risk of illness later in life. Also, erythromycin can cause blurred vision which interferes with bonding and establishing breastfeeding.

What are my options?

Most midwives and doctors will test you for many sexually transmitted infections, including gonorrhea or chlamydia, during pregnancy. If you test positive, it would be best to use the eye ointment, although you will also be treated for these infections during pregnancy and be tested to determine if they have been cured. Although, you can ask the hospital staff to delay eye ointment until you and baby have a chance to gaze at each other and bond. If you are not infected and in a monogamous relationship, then you can safely refuse this intervention.

Vitamin K shot

Our bodies need Vitamin K to activate molecules that help blood clotting. Without enough vitamin K, babies can have vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB) which is rare but dangerous.

Early onset VKDB happens in the first 24 hours, classical VKDB happens in days 2-3, up to day 7, and late onset happens after that, typically age 3-8 weeks.

In 1961, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended giving Vitamin K shots after birth to protect against VKDB.

However, many naturally-minded mamas are concerned about the vitamin K shot.

The shot contains 20,000 times the amount an infant has at birth and moms are concerned that giving a mega dose to a day old baby can be dangerous.

The synthetic vitamin K shot is a class C drug which means it is unknown whether it is safe during pregnancy. It is also possible to overdose on vitamin K and the shot contains 5,000 times the recommended daily allowance.

It may be that injecting the vitamin K shot into the muscle of the leg allows it to release slowly so as not to overwhelm the baby’s system.

However, there is also some debate about whether or not a vitamin K injection in the muscles is safe. The vitamin K shot drug insert warns that it can cause “severe, sometimes fatal, allergic reactions when injected into a muscle or vein, and is ideally taken by mouth or injected under the skin”.

Additionally, the vitamin K shot does contain some nasty preservatives like Phenol, Benzyl alcohol, Propylene glycol, Acetic acid, Hydrochloric acid, Lecithin, and Castor oil.

Even the preservative free vitamin K shot includes Polysorbate 80, Propylene glycol, Sodium acetate anhydrous, and Glacial acetic acid to help with the absorption.

What are my natural baby options?

If your child is formula fed, your baby’s risk for VKBD is essentially non-existent and supplementing is not necessary. (Of course, check with doctor or midwife!)

For breastfed babies, you can choose vitamin K oral drops, which are definitely protective but not as effective as the shot (The shot will account for 0 deaths per 100,000 whereas the oral vitamin K will result in up to 7 deaths per 100,000. Some of this increased risk was because parents didn’t administer all oral doses.)

The Danish oral vitamin K regimen is an adequate way to reduce VKDB risk substantially in breastfed babies. To follow this regimen you need to give baby 2 drops of vitamin k (4 mg) at birth and 1 drop (2mg) weekly for the first 3 months of life. Some midwives advise moms to continue for the first 6 months of life at which point baby’s natural vitamin K levels are highest. There’s no harm in continuing vitamin K supplementing this long. It is also helpful for the breastfeeding mother to take 5mg of Vitamin K daily, as this can boost her Vitamin K levels in her breast milk.

Finding vitamin K drops in the US can be tricky, however. Here are two brands to look for: Scientific Botanicals and Biotics Research. You may also be able to purchase them through your midwife.

Some midwives believe vitamin K supplementation is only necessary in a traumatic labor like a forcep or vacuum extraction birth and/or male circumcision, both which can cause baby to bleed.

One thing to note, some believe vernix may contain vitamin K. Instead of wiping it off, rub in this creamy substance to help support your baby’s well-being.

Early cord clamping (ECC)

It was thought that ECC reduced the risk for postpartum hemorrhage. Science has since disproved that theory, yet ECC it’s still standard care. There is substantial evidence to support delayed cord clamping instead.

Delayed cord clamping in very preterm infants reduces the risk for intraventricular hemorrhage and late-onset sepsis. It increases blood volume, reduces need for blood transfusion, improves oxygenation of tissues and increases the amount of iron in baby’s blood, especially in iron deficient moms. In fact, almost all premature infants receive either delayed cord clamping or cord milking–so why not full term infants too?

Delayed cord clamping has one potential drawback – slightly higher rates of jaundice. Some researchers conclude that delayed cord clamping is beneficial when access to phototherapy for jaundice is available. Others are skeptical of this finding. According to Science and Sensibility:

“The apparent association between DCC and an increased need for phototherapy is a bit controversial. As pointed out by Dr. Judith Mercer, an expert on the benefits of delayed clamping, this concern is based largely on a single unpublished 1996 study performed by one of the Cochrane review’s authors (McDonald).  McDonald’s study is one of only two of the nearly forty studies considered for inclusion in the current review that includes unpublished data; when that data is removed, the difference between groups loses significance.”

The most recent studies found no correlation between DCC and jaundice in babies. The reality is that most babies, especially those who are breastfed, will have some degree of jaundice in the first few days and unless levels are unusually high, jaundice is physiologic, which means it is totally normal.

What are my options?

Many natural mamas choose to delay cord clamping until 3-5 minutes after which is the minimum amount of time it takes for the blood to circulate to baby.

Others choose to delay cord clamping until the cord has stopped pulsating or until the placenta has been born, both of which would take longer than 3-5 minutes.

Including this in your birth plan as well as asking your doula to help you and your partner remind your care providers when the birth is imminent, is a good way to be sure your preferences are respected.

Hepatitis B vaccine

Routine newborn procedures often include a hepatitis B vaccine. Vaccines are a hot debate but with this one many people agree that giving a newborn baby, who has a newborn immune system, a vaccine for a disease that can only be transmitted sexually or through blood is not the best idea.

So why is it routine?

We have to remember that our healthcare system is trying to take care of the general population.  This means that giving a Hep B vaccine at birth can save a baby from contracting the disease from his mother or other family members, who may not know they have the disease due to lack of good healthcare. An extremely small percentage of babies may also require a blood transfusion, and although blood is carefully screened, there is always a very minute chance it is contaminated–this is another highly unlikely, but not impossible, way that your baby could contract hepatitis B.

However, for most of the population, if you know you and/or family members don’t have Hep B and your baby is healthy and full-term (thus likely won’t be receiving a blood transfusion), your baby has almost zero chance of getting it, at least any time soon.

What are my natural baby options?

You will be tested for hepatitis B during the routine first trimester blood work your provider offers. If you know you are negative for Hep B then you may feel safe skipping the hep B vaccine until later. Dr. Sears recommends 2-3 years of age.

Bathing baby

If you’re giving birth at the hospital, you’ll probably want to avoid bathing your newborn there. The hospital usually uses products that contain chemicals, parabens, or fragrances. (Stay clear of toxic baby powder!)

While the staff may urge you to do so, know that you have options and can always say “no thanks.”

Know that you can bring your own bath products and you can ask that you be involved with the bath or do the bath yourself (or have dad do it if you don’t feel up to it).

Another concern many natural parents have is that bathing washes away the vernix (a white cheese-like protective material that covers the skin of the baby) before it has had a chance to absorb. Vernix has many benefits to baby. It acts as an antimicrobial, defending baby against infections. It’s also a great moisturizer. SO good, in fact, that cosmetic companies researched it!

Finally, our skin contains good bacteria so we don’t want to wash this off with soap and water frequently, especially in newborns who are populating their gut bacteria rapidly.

What are my natural baby options?

Most midwives know the benefit of delaying baby’s first bath and won’t even mention it. Some moms like to wait 24 to 48 hours and others like to wait a good week before bathing child. It’s really a matter of personal choice.


Circumcision is another hot topic for debate. Many people choose to circumcise for religious reasons, other do it because they and everyone they know are circumcised. Still others choose to circumcise because they’ve heard it’s healthier or more hygienic.

However, routine circumcision is not necessarily more hygienic or healthier. In studies, the only risk factor that increases in non-circumcised males are UTIs, which are much less likely to occur in men versus women. The risk is so low that circumcision is classified, by the American Medical Association as a non-therapeutic procedure. The American Academy of Pediatrics has never, in it’s 75 years of operation, recommended infant circumcision.

According to Intact America:

“The foreskin is a normal, sensitive, functional part of the body. In infant boys, the foreskin is attached to the head of the penis (glans), protects it from urine, feces, and irritation, and keeps contaminants from entering the urinary tract. The foreskin also has an important role in sexual pleasure, due to its specialized, erogenous nerve endings and its natural gliding and lubricating functions.”

Circumcision is also becoming less common. About half of infant boys today are not subjected to routine circumcision (up from about 19% in 1981). So when those boys are teenagers about half of their peers will look just like them.

Here are more facts about baby circumcision.

What are my natural baby options?

You can allow your male child to make the choice for himself when he is old enough. Since circumcision is non-therapeutic, there is no medical reason it needs to be done in infancy.

Newborn proceudres: the bottom line

Whether you’re a first time mama or a seasoned mother of four, know that knowledge is power. Do the research, discuss with your healthcare team, and make the choices that are best for you, baby and family.

How about you?

What routine newborn procedures did you choose or refuse? Share with us in the comments below!



  • https://evidencebasedbirth.com/evidence-for-the-vitamin-k-shot-in-newborns/https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/08/12/vitamin-k-shot-newborns.aspx
  • http://academicobgyn.com/2009/12/03/delayed-cord-clamping-should-be-standard-practice-in-obstetrics/
  • https://www.scienceandsensibility.org/category/delayed-cord-clamping/
  • https://www.askdrsears.com/topics/health-concerns/vaccines/hepatitis-b-vaccine-and-disease-do-newborns-need-vaccine-sexually-transmitted
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1595247/
  • http://www.intactamerica.org/resources/decision
  1. We live in NY where it is also mandatory to receive vitamin k and have the pku test done. My husband and I were successful in refusing both for our last baby (although it was a battle in the hospital. We also had cps breathing down our necks and so much pressure from the nurses and doctors) Regardless, we will be doing so again for this baby due in two weeks.
    We just read the back of the pku pamphlet the hospital gave us and that was reason enough for me and my husband to make a stand against the pku. Did you know the government admittedly saves the baby’s blood for 17 years after testing? No thank you! I’ll take my baby to her pediatrician and we’ll decide together what tests, if any she needs. Without the “help” of the state.
    As for the vitamin k, I’d rather not introduce anything my baby doesn’t need into her system. I’ll trust Gods design over the status quo at a hospital any day. Thank you mama natural for supporting those who want to make the best choices for themselves and their families.

  2. Hi! I had a question about the Danish study you posted for Vitamin K. The study says 2 mg at birth and 1mg weekly but you wrote 4 mg at birth and 2 mg weekly. Was that info from another study? Also, the biotics brand is only 500mcg per drop so to get 2 mg it would be four drops instead of two and 8 drops for the 4 mg.
    I just wanted to get clarification which regimen?
    Thanks so much for the content!

  3. 2013 I had my son by csection (breech) and opted out of hep b and eye ointment. We DID get Vit K shots even though we didn’t circumcise & happy we did because he had extremely low blood sugar and needed to be pricked every hour for a few days – it was terrible. 2015 daughter was a VBAC and we refused the eye ointment and Hep B again. Both with Kaiser in N.Cal, different hospitals. HOWEVER, we just moved to Pennsylvania and they LIED on our kids medical records saying they DID have the procedures done. So now I have no clue if they were preformed without our consent 🙁 I’m due with #3 this winter and have some hospital/state law research to do. I hate that we can’t trust our healthcare system

  4. After speaking with my midwife about my concerns regarding the antibiotic eye treatment for newborns and why my baby would need it if I don’t have gonorrhea or chlamydia, she said that it is for any infection the mother might have in the birth canal that the baby could be exposed to while giving birth. I am not sure what I should do now. I have never had a STD and my husband and I are monogamous and have been tested. What other infections does the ointment protect against?

    • It’s main job is to protect against STDs.

  5. Thanks for this article! It reinforced all my beliefs and geared me up for my upcoming labour. I refused everyone of these things for our babies. We even refused the hearing test and the newborn screening test, which consist of a heel prick and squeezing ba goes foot for blood. The doctors and nurses gave us such a hard time. They even brought in child protective services to speak with us. This was back in 2015 in the state of Washington. I’m glad to see more people are refusing these invasive unnatural procedures. We will be having this baby at home.

    • I can’t believe they brought in CPS to speak with you! What did they say? I’m also in WA state and worried that this stuff could become an issue.

    • We live in the Dallas, Texas area. We refused everything with our first, (a little girl) as well except for the heel prick. We didn’t know we could get out of that one at the time lol also in 2015. They gave us a hard time and had CPS come and talk with us. I guess they think you are not good parents if you refuse what they think is best! 🙁
      We had our second at a birthing center in sept. 2017 and chose not to find out the sex of the baby…it was a boy! 🙂 We were able to refuse everything ahead of time and had less of a problem and no CPS visit. Hopefully when we get pregnant with our next baby, I can have a home birth! 🙂

    • I wish that I could speak with all of the ladies from WA state, I am aware of the system. Congrats to you all for standing strong and taking the time to do the well needed information you needed in order to make independent and well informed decisions about your precious babies. People have become such robotic order followers that they easily allow doctors, nurses, and other people tell them what they should do concerning the very critical stages of their newborns as well as their children throughout their childhoods. What people fail to think about is that these precious babies are God’s gift to them and they should do all that they can to educate themselves with the TRUTH and the FACTS, which takes much time and RESEARCH, not only on these medical cocktails that poison their tiny little bodies and systems for life, but also the WHY’S concerning why we are all muscled, bullied and even thrown in jail for simply making a decision concerning our OWN child’s life before they are able to make those for themselves. There is a REASON for all of this MADNESS, I pray that you all will find it, it is very shocking 🙁 , and beyond sad.

  6. I chose to do oral vitamin k shots for my son. I also did DCC with him. No circumcision, and he was born in a birthing center so I didn’t get hasseled by hospital staff to do eye ointment or any vaccines.

  7. Hi! I’ve been referring to your website a lot recently, I really appreciate what you’ve been doing! I just wanted to bring your attention to a little typo near the end: Newborn proceudres. Feel free to delete this comment 😉

    Thanks for providing such a great resource!

  8. Girlfriend is GSB positive. Were not entirely sure what to do with vaccinations. Will the extra vaccines be to much or should we do them all because of the gsb. Is there any correlation to vaccinating or not when Gsb positive?

    • Are you referring to the vitamin K shot and the Hep B vaccine? Those are the typical vaccinations providers recommend after birth.

  9. You can also ask your pediatrician to write you a script for a high potency vit K oral supplement. It is given three times once at birth, once seven days later and once a month after the initial dose. You will need to find a compounding pharmacy to make it for you. We did this for our third baby bc the oldest is very allergic to preservatives and we wanted to wait and not do any shot until we knew for sure if she had the same allergies!

  10. Apologies if you have already answered this, but did you end up giving Paloma a shot of Vitae’s K? I just watched your birth video (so exciting, I am 39weeks with my 3rd and the video has me pumped!) and I hear the midwife say she may have been blue bc of bruising bc of her fast decent. Knowing that birth trauma is a good reason to give the shot, I was wondering if that changed how you made that decision. We have not done it with my others, but for some reason I am considering it a new for this one. I’d love your experience with Paloma’s “fast” labor.

  11. With my daughter the only natural choice I made was a delayed bath. I washed her myself with gentle products after we got home. With my son delayed bath, no circumcision (it has been one of the best choices I made as a parent and it made our hospital stay so much less stressful!) and no eye ointment. I’m not sure about whether we will do eye ointment next time because my son had a blocked tear duct that no amount of rubbing and breastmilk would take care of. His poor eyes were constantly red and swollen and I ended up having to do a much larger dose of eye ointment from 5-9 months just to keep the infection at bay. I was so thankful when they cleared up on their own at 10 months and he didn’t need surgery! We got all shots because we live and travel overseas on mission work where diseases are much more prevelant and dangerous.

  12. I’m 38 weeks with my 6th now. I’m refusing vitamin k, hep b, eye ointment and delaying cord clamping until my placenta is delivered. No bath either. I wash hair myself but that’s it. I’ve learned the hard way with vaccine injured children and 1 who almost died from the vitamin k shot

    • How did yours almost die from vitamin k? I am currently very torn on this one. My first 2 boys had it because we did circumcise but I’m 31 weeks with a girl and very unsure.

    • How did your child react to the vit k?

  13. Hi! I do believe that every single parent must analyze your specific health & situation in order to opt out or in in anything… Considering my case, I had a flawless pregnancy, with a 100% balance nutrition, etc… I have a flawless health with no meds for around 10 years now. I really believe that the pku test in a newborn screening with less than 1 day is completely invasive and there is even the risk to have it repeated after 2 weeks…:/ Even if the test is positive breastfeeding still the way to go, so if a mom is breastfeeding knowing the results in 24 hours or later would make absolutely no difference!
    What are your thoughts on newborn screening? Thanks!

  14. I feel you’re going to do the oral vitamin k, do you just refuse and do it yourself or do they administer it at the hospital?

    • At the hospital. You may need to request the oral version ahead of time if your hospital doesn’t regularly use the oral vitamin K.

    • I caught that too…you are correct.

    • Absolutely! The Danish protocol was reported incorrectly in this article and needs to be fixed just in case any mama doesn’t follow the link. Also, the Biotics Research dose was improperly recorded. 4 drops at birth (equals 2mg), and 2 drops should be given each week thereafter (1mg) to follow the Danish study.

      This was a great article, and I especially appreciate the nonjudgmental spirit about the many options we mamas have to make for our little ones. Great job!

  15. In December 2016, the ACOG even recommended waiting the 3-5 minutes before clamping the umbilical cord!

  16. trying to get some medical supervision over my choice to give oral vitamin k. Midwives don’t seem to give out directives and are more comfortable referring to the pediatrician. Haven’t found a pediatrician that seems knowledgeable about the oral vitamin k. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  17. Wondering about delaying bath if I am Group b strep positive. Also, do the antibiotics for the GBS interrupt the baby’s microbiome as well? I’ve heard conflicting info.

    • Hi Jessica, I was Group B strep positive and started taking good Probiotics as well as Greek yogurt & other foods as a form of adding to the baby’s gut health because I knew I would be having antibiotics during labor (unfortunately). She also had a lot of antibiotics shortly after her birth so we started her on probiotics shortly after too. I personally feel that doing those 2 things helped her immensely. Congrats on baby!

      • Also meant to add that we delayed her bath 5 days with no problems from the hospital, although they kept asking. We were in hospital about 2 1/2 days after her birth & I wish I’d chosen a birth in center. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough lol

    • GBS is bit overrated here in the US (notice how all the other western countries don’t even test for it?). Check out the stats. You have more chance of being hit by an asteroid in your backyard than baby getting sick. You can absolutely skip the antibiotics– the hospital will just want to keep an eye on baby since symptoms present right away. Your chances of baby getting sick are tiny (like .0025?) whereas the damage of antibiotics is massive. Including sterilization of your milk (yikes!). I feel confident that gbs testing will be a thing of the past in the near future… avoid antibiotics mamas if you can unless it’s a true emergency. The damage they cause your vulnerable infant is still being researched … whereas the research on GBS is out in the open and in this case, the risk of antibiotics definitely out weighs the benefit of GBS antibiotics.

  18. I personally was going to refuse hep b shot. Refuse vitamin k and do oral but now reading your site I actually changed my mind. I can’t remember to take my own medications and vitamins let alone vitamin k orally for 6 months. So I unfortunately want my baby protected so I’m back to doing it. I’m pro-circumcision and it is for him as well as her. My sister was with a guy that was not and she got infections regularly until they broke up. My current guy is and I worked in sex industry along with around many men and guys that were not circumcised were all insecure about it. And no guy is going to be able to handle getting it later, and if they do it’s extremely painful and it’s torture. My hospital also does delayed cord clamping as well as delayed bath for 12 hours. Along with power hour and skin to skin and much as possible automatically.

    • I don’t really understand this “witch hunt” on foreskin in America. Barely anyone get it done in Europe. And most people, including me, would never even think about it before reading some american web sites. If guy has an infection in it, it means he has poor personal hygiene, because it’s really not hard to clean it under foreskin. And by cutting it you loose a lot of sensitivity. I wouldn’t like to have my G spot removed. It’s literally just a habit in your part of the world.

    • foreskin is what they call “bit%h reppellant” becuase any woman who would reject a man over being natural doesn’t deserve the man she is rejecting. so thank god for that! keep those shallow selfish ignorant women away from my son! for millenia men have remained natural and humanity survived! besides the fact that it tortures babies and leaves them with no choices because of your permanent decision, why not just let them chose for themselves when they are adults and can have no risk procedures with proper anesthesia if they want, but they won’t want to. and if you are actually worth your salt about working in the sex industry you would know that there is room for fetish of all kinds of things, especially foreskin!

      • Sorry but no guy is gonna get it done later. I have had the best sex with circumcised guys. As well as had them be more sensitive. I had a guy once that had so much skin he had to hold it all back to even have sex and it was more a chore than it was enjoyable. Also not to mention a girlfriend worked in a nursing home and saw men having to have it done at that age because of not being able to pee and having horrendous issues. They got it done and it was torture. I work in sex industry and I’m telling you not one man has ever told me he wishes he wasn’t cut….. like sorry no. And it is rare to see a uncut dick in porn here. Sorry. It’s gross. But that’s fine. I rather be able to enjoy sex not hold back skin….

        • My husband is not circumcised and he’s never had these problems. Who cares what genitals look like in porn!?

        • Wow. I’m slightly speechless and appalled that you would rather have your infant put through that torture now than make his own choice later (when they fully numb( because guess what, they don’t fully numb them as newborns!). Your baby has felt no pain and that’s the first thing he will feel? How cruel. I feel very, very bad for your child… as a mother you should worry less about “dicks in porn” and more about the well being of your child.

        • I agree with Mothertothree! My husband is circumsized and I honestly don’t even notice the difference. I don’t understand why you’d put your baby through unnecessary torture. To each their own, I guess!

    • I find it interesting that you call circumcision “torture” for a grown man, but think it is fine for a newborn baby. Why is it less painful or torturous for a baby that can’t speak up, make a choice for himself, or ask for pain medication? If a grown man can’t handle the pain, an infant shouldn’t have to. That makes no sense.

      • I will preface by saying that I am having a girl, so have not had to think too much about this one, although I would most likely not circumcise personally. BUT it is more painful later on, in that infants do not have erections. Imagine a grown man needing circumcision and waking up every day post-op to that surgical site involuntarily stretched to the length of erection. Also, I was with a partner who had good hygiene but still had tiny bumps around his foreskin due to some condition that was caused by the moisture under the foreskin. You can google it. But imagine being the partner and seeing BUMPS on someone’s penis for the first time. These are things I would certainly consider in decisions to circumcise.

        • You are very sadly misinformed. Infants absolutely can and do have erections. They even have them in utero. Mine did. And he did as a newborn as well. So imagine a tiny baby waking up every day post-circumcision to that surgical site being involuntarily stretched. No way to request meds, no way to ask for comfort, no way to rationalize the pain or understand that it’s temporary, the way a grown man can. Add to that that he has to urinate through/onto an open, raw wound… Please, if you have an open mind, reconsider in light of new information.

    • To each their own. Having a husband who is not circumcised. Thank the Lord! The best sex I have ever had!
      I basically let my husband decide what he wanted to do with our son. Because he was the one who has the experience. And we chose to not circumcise. I couldn’t imagine my son going through an unnecessary pain.
      I have 4 members in my family who are not circumcised. So really being embarrassed about it is not an issue. And if it’s a concern my husband or I would talk about it to him.

  19. What about the PKU test and the hearing screening? I don’t want them simply cause I don’t think they are needed and it won’t affect how I view or love my child if she is hearing impaired. Any information on those would be helpful. Thank you

    • With both hearing and pku (which by the way tests about for not just pku but 30-60 disorders) the sooner you catch the issue the less likely it is to cause damage. For example if you don’t catch hearing loss it can affect their speech. If you don’t catch PKU soon enough it can cause mental retardation. For minor discomfort and a minimal fee I personally don’t see a very good reason not to. The more information you have about your health the more empowered you are!

    • My son failed his hearing test due to amniotic fluid stuck in his ear. We had to lay him on his side and pad his back for a couple of hours to get it to release and for him to pass the test on third try. Who knows if this may have caused an infection or permanent damage to his otherwise perfect hearing if left unresolved? Maybe, maybe not, but it’s sure not worth the risk

    • Please don’t skip the pku and hearing. It’s so important to catch these things early and both procedures pose little to no risk to the baby. I would also recommend no one skip the Vit K.

  20. I had a question that has to do with baby before birth. I was tested for gestational diabetes early because I had it with my first time. I failed the 1 hour test by 5 points but when I took the three hour test I passed all four blood draws. Now they want me to do it all over again at 28 weeks. I really do not want to do it again and the doctor said I have a right to deny it. What should I do?

    • I would recommend taking it again. As pregnancy progresses the hormonal changes can cause increased insulin resistance. I took mine twice this pregnancy and am following a diabetic diet. My last pregnancy I had every problem possible. This pregnancy (three months after my first) I have no problems

    • It’s ok to deny it. Yea they will pressure you, but all of it is your choice. I’m guessing your aversion is to the toxic sludge sugar drink they make us drink? Ask for alternatives if that helps!

      • They do have a jelly-bean test alternative that you can do rather than drinking the drink. My first pregnancy they started the drink around 25wks, I could not keep it down, so we’d have to start over. I dislike pop, sugarey sweet tea, even undiluted fruit juice, I told them it was too much sugar for me. I didn’t even get the test perform, we tried twice more and I got sick and vomited, so we left it at that. This time I told them I’m not drinking that junk, that I might be able to hold down jelly-bean or that I can purchase a glucose monitoring kit and test myself for a month to see if I have gestational diabetes.

  21. I want some more information about Vitamin K shot and the oral. I am currently pregnant and want what is best for the baby. I already know I do not want my baby getting the Hep B shot.

    • Natalie- I was torn about the vitamin k shot for a bit, especially after reading all the scary stats they like to throw at us, so I considered the oral route. However, I then put fear aside (as I don’t make a habit of making important decisions based on fear) and put together what I do know- babies have always been born with low vitamin k,

    • Woops, accidentally hit the button before I finished lol. Anyway.. What I do know- babies have always been born with low vitamin k. I think there is a reason for this, and they are finding that it may be to allow baby’s stem cells to get where they need to be to make any repairs, etc after birth (vitamin k thickens blood and makes it harder for stem cells to flow). I hypothesize there are are even more reasons for this design! I also don’t let the formula vs breast milk issue scare me, as breast milk was also designed to be best for baby.

      • Kate, thank you so much! You just cleared it up for me and helped me let go of my fears too! Our bodies are perfectly designed and are supported by Mother Nature!

      • Kate!! Yes!!! We CAN trust our bodies and our babies and our humanity. Giving a baby vitamin K might actually get in the way of a very natural repairing process. Perhaps it’s as illogical to give vitamin K as it is to say “why Isn’t the baby born with shoes on? He may step on something sharp at the hospital!”

    • Fyi baby gets vitamin k around day 8 NATURALLY. the big push for vitamin k has to do with circumcision– they don’t want baby to bleed out ( which does still happen. Fatalities every year!) so feel free to skip the vitamin D and the circumcision if that’s what your heart tells you!

  22. My ideal birth plan was a non-obtrusive, medicine free, midwife birth at OSU Hospital. My actual birth was a C-section after I had been in labor for 13 hours by the time they took me back. They thought my son would be 11 lbs. We prayed, cried, and talked about it before we made that decision but knew it was best for our son. Come to find out he was coming in sideways and we would’ve had to have an emergency C-section anyway.

    We opted out of the eye salve, Vitamin K shot, circumcision, and the Hep B vaccine.

    The eye salve is silly if you are negative and only with one person.

    The vitamin K shot is horrid and we denied/ refused it multiple times. They didn’t like us doing that. We weren’t circumsizing our son so he didn’t need it. However on day three in the hospital we found out our son was tongue-tied (please add this to your list of things to check because if they hadn’t happened upon it in the hospital then our son would have to be knocked out to have it done if we left the hospital and got it done later). Because we knew they would be cutting his tongue and he was younger than 8 days old we asked for the shot. (You would’ve thought they convinced me to do it by how much they cheered me on for that decision.)

    Circumcision. It’s totally a decision that you have to make for your child and no one should put you down no matter what decision you make. We did a TON of research. My husband was on board. I wasn’t. I prayed that I would know within a week of a certain day and I had three people tell me their decision/reasoning for not doing to their son and how they are faring now (one who is 8 and one who is 23). I also had a close relative out of the blue reveal that they never were and how their life has been fine (he’s 61). So that helped a ton! We decided to leave the decision to our son. If you do circumcise before 8 days then do some kind of vitamin k for your son.

    Hep B… meh. We don’t like vaccines for ourselves, our children, or our dogs. My husband is a family herbalist so yeah we stay away from that stuff. The vaccine book mentioned in a previous comment is great!

    Anyway, I hope this info helps someone. I’m pregnant again and going for a VBAC and there’s still things I’m adding to my birth plan and to my child’s care plan.

  23. Hi, my question is regarding getting Rhogam after baby’s birth. In our case, I am RH- and if baby is RH+, we were hoping to use the alternative to Rhogam called WinRho. Rhogam has been found to be very dangerous in-utero and even with transmission in breastmilk after birth as it contains both mercury & aluminum. Has anyone had any experience with this? Very few midwives and doctors have much knowledge about alternatives to Rhogam or seem to be bothered much at all by the fact it contains mercury & aluminum. WinRho itself contains some things I am not thrilled about, but seems to be the best option for our situation and to prevent any issues with any future babies! Any information would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

  24. I haven’t had my baby yet, but I will be refusing them all!

  25. I’ve commented on a few other comments, but wanted to leave this here, too. I noticed that you didn’t comment on the newborn screen, which may seem unimportant to some, but please, please, PLEASE do NOT opt out!!! The chances of it revealing anything abnormal may be low, but our son was actually diagnosed with PKU through the screen. If we’d opted out, we would never have known there was anything wrong until he already had irreversible brain damage. Because the condition was caught with the screen, we could start treating him at one week old. Now, he is almost three months and is perfectly happy and healthy; you’d never know there was anything “wrong” with him! I am so thankful that the newborn screen is routinely done and urge my fellow mamas to never opt out! The heel prick may seem traumatic at the time, but our Teddy would have suffered way more in his life without it.

  26. Years ago my mom read about a study where they linked jaundice in babies to synthetic iron in the prenatals.
    When I was pregnant with our rainbow baby I took Garden of Life’s Raw Prenatals. Nothing synthetic whatsoever in them (that I’m aware of). Baby girl has had zero jaundice. Nurses and lactation specialists were pretty shocked. They tried their best to find some slight hint of yellow!

    • My mom is convinced that’s why I was jaundiced! When I had my daughter last year, she was jaundiced too. They were giving me iron pills after the birth and my dad was like don’t take those. Then they wanted me to supplement with formula, but formula has iron in it. I also recently saw something connecting the vitamin K shot to jaundice. This time around I am taking Garden of Life prenatals and refusing the vitamin K shot.

    • I took regular Prenatals and zero jaundice as well.

  27. Hi!
    And thank you for the information. However, I am really curious as to what other natural mama’s think about newborn procedures such as newborn screening? I plan on having a home birth and my midwife has given me some information on blood spot screening, hearing screening, and pulse oximetry screening. How necessary are these tests? Is there a chance they could yield a false positive? A false negative? How invasive are they to the baby? Preferably, I would opt out of all of these, but was just wondering what some other mama’s out there think, and if they have any advice for this first time mom.
    Thanks! 🙂

    • I kind of figure these are nice tests to have especially since they don’t put anything IN your baby. They can be beneficial to catch anything abnormal early on. The blood spot test is really hard for mama because they are poking your baby to make them bleed but nursing while they do it is really helpful. The hearing screen they just have the newborn listen to some beeps and see how they react (its been a few years since I’ve gone through all this and I have no idea how they can tell). I’m not sure about he pulse oximetry test though.

    • Please, please, PLEASE do not opt out of the newborn screen! It may seem unnecessary, and the chances that it will reveal anything abnormal are low, but our son actually tested positive for PKU and without that screen, we never would’ve known until he already had irreversible brain damage. Because it was caught on the newborn screen, we could start treating him at one week old, and you’d never know there was anything “wrong” with him; he is a perfectly healthy, happy 3-month-old!!!

    • The pulse ox test is a non invasive test that screens for mild-moderate congenital heart conditions (by measuring baby’s oxygen levels in different limbs) that can be addressed/treated before your baby would normally show symptoms. Definitely the potential benefit outweighs any risk (although I can’t think of a single risk associated with this screening test)

  28. I read up alot on the Vitamin K shot….my conclusion…there’s a reason most newborns have “low vitamin K” at birth. We allowed our now 2 year old to get the shot and we only breastfed. I did however drink red raspberry leaf and nettle tea throughout the third trimester…especially nettle has high vitamin K.

  29. Hi! Love all your information! I was looking into alternatives for the Vitamin K shot. For the Biotics liquid Vitamin K it comes in 500mcg per 1 drop. The correct dose to get 4mg at birth would be to administer 8 drops. Is this correct? I just want to make sure they need to get 4mg at birth and 2mg weekly for a few months. Thank you!! 🙂

    • I had my first child in Germany. There the Vitamin K is given orally at birth, at 3 days and at 3 weeks. 2mg each. After that you are done. And it is usually given by the doctors or nurses during well visits. They administer it undiluted in a syringe.

  30. Thank you for all the great info you share! With the Biotics Vitamin K, how should this be administered to an infant? I know it is liquid but is it safe to give directly or should it be diluted with breast milk? If breastfeeding how can this be done? Thank you!

    • You could mix with a little breastmilk and then use a syringe to administer.

  31. I’m 31 weeks along and don’t know the gender. If it is a boy he will be circumsized by a mohel in a traditional Jewish bris ceremony. My last boy was born at 29 weeks and was given the vit. K shot. I didn’t realize it had so so many extras in it. If this baby is a boy do u recommend the regular vit. K shot or the more natural one? I was going to ask at my next midwife appointment if there even was such a thing.

    • Congrats on your pregnancy! It’s really such a personal choice. You can ask to see the insert to the vitamin K shot that your midwife uses so you know what’s in it. You can also do the oral route, which generally has less preservatives. No option is perfect so you need to weigh all the risks and go with what seems best. I do think some protection, whatever that looks like, is prudent.

  32. Hello, I was wondering if you have any good sources saying vernix has vitamin K. I have heard/read it as a statement but never seen any science on it. Would love to know for sure so I can confidently share that information if it’s true.

  33. Hello, my baby was born 4 weeks early. Things went fast and a lot happened that I didn’t plan on. Antibiotics, vacuum, and they cut the cord right away.

    Everything was good with baby and I did the vitamin k drops. (Biotics brand) is this enough for all the things that occurred?

  34. Even though we are waiting on baby 3 and baby number ones birthday is September of 2013, these details are such good reminders! Thank you!!

  35. How can I refuse the eye ointment and vitamin K shot in a state that says its mandatory? My midwife said I can’t refuse it since its state mandated :-/

    • Same here! I have been researching and trying to figure out how to get around the mandate, but no luck so far.

    • You have to get it then. Vitamin K shot can save lives and the eye ointment is localized.

  36. How long does it take for a baby to produce a safe amount of vit k on their own? Because of our religion we are circumsizing our 2nd son,due in June,but we want to deny the vit k shot. Any advice on how to go about this safely? I have yet to discuss this with my midwife

    • We choose to get the shot because our son was getting circumcised. We wanted to avoid any risks with the blood not clotting well enough. Definitely good to discuss with midwife. We also went to a circ specialist and it was done 10 days after birth. Which I heard decreases risk of not clotting. Hope you find your answer.

    • in the bible the people of Isreal were told to circumcise the boys when they were eight days old.

    • If I were in your shoes, I would do the vitamin k drops (and take a k supplement myself) and circumsize him when he’s eight days old.

    • You could just leave your son perfect, as he is born. That will reduce all kinds of risks and preserve his right to religious freedom, should he choose differently than you.

  37. When would be a good time to let visitors see the newborn? We were planning to have a “Meet the baby” party instead of a typical baby shower. My husband and I thought a month after the baby’s arrival would be best to have this party.

  38. I had both my children in the UK and some of you may be interested to know that hardly any of these procedures are routine here:

    Antibiotic eye ointment -only give to babies whose mothers have tested positive for gonorrhea or chlamydia

    Hepatisis B – not part of the routine childhood immunisation programme at all, is only given to babies of infected mothers

    Bathing baby – advised against until the cord has fallen off, the diaper area should be cleaned with cotton wool and water and if you wish, you should also clean the rest of your baby in this way intially

    Circumcision – not routinely done, can be specially requested for religious reasons and rarely, is done for medical reasons

    Early cord clamping – A lot of midwives are aware of the benefits of delaying clamping until the cord has stopped pulsating and all will accommodate this on request, unless there is a medical reason that the baby should be checked quickly

    Vitamin K – is routine but you will be asked before and after the birth if you wish your baby to have it

    • Thank you for your input. I’m 28+6 with my first and am researching allot into what procedures etcare really necessary and what is purely preference. This has eased my mind about what I really need to worry about. ?

    • Can you comment on GBS testing and treatment in UK?

  39. I was convinced to circumcise my son when he was born. I still feel guilty for doing . He cried so hard and intense it was definetly a pain scream. His wa actually messed up and his.penis became “inverted” in whicjnit retracts into the fatty layer of the groin area. This is a direct complication of circumcision. They dont tell you that if it does not griw eniugh to fix it self the child has to have additional surgeries to fix it. Luckily my sons is now fine. I dont ever want anither child of mine to go through this complication and pain. How do i handle having a second son and not circumcising him. I feel it will be a difficult conversation when they are older to explain why they are different ir why i chose to do my oldest but not my other boys. Do you have any advice?I wish i would have went with my gut and not circumcised..

    • A friend of mine just went through this when her oldest asked why the youngest looked different. She replied that she made a choice for him that she learned later was the wrong choice. She briefly explained circumcision. She let him ask questions and she answered the best she could. Her son (6yo) was understanding and even said he forgave her and that everyone makes mistakes. I hope this helps!

    • Hello-

      I’m also a mom who circumcised by first at my husbands request. It’s intensely painful for me to think about. He also had complications until he was completely toilet trained.

      We chose to leave my second son intact. Meaning that I absolutely refused to consent, and told my husband that if it meant enough for him to do it despite my dogmatic refusal, that he would have to do it himself.

      We later agreed that should he request it done and be upset that we didn’t cut him we will pay for it later in life.

      My first son asked me just the other day why his penis was cut and I panicked and told him he needed to chat with his Daddy because it was his choice to do so. I plan on telling him that I didn’t have the tools to make the best choice, but I did the best I could at the time, and aplogize if needed. If appropriate I’ll teach him some restoration tips.

      • That’s a hard situation. Wishing you grace! We aren’t going to do this parenting thing perfectly! Xo

    • I know many mothers who live with this regret as well. The one thing I can say is you must be a great mother to care so much. There is a group on Facebook called Parents Regretting Circumcision if you are on there and there are various resources about parents in your exact position. I know parents who circumcised one or more son and not the others so they would be much better resources than myself. Look it up and you will find something. Best of luck to you mama!

  40. I was so excited to receive my first pregnancy update from you Mama Natural! What a night and day difference from the other updates! You did a superb job covering so much helpful information that is usually NEVER taught to the mother by the doctor or even the midwives! The only thing I would adjust is posting more information on the positive side of circumcision. I do not know whom I am having this time, since I had no ultra sounds done, therefore I have been doing research on circumcision as it is procedure we will have done if it is a boy. I did come across very informative medical website on the procedure listing many positives to the procedure, some of which include, “Prevents infections under the foreskin… Decreases the risk of getting some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) later in life, including HIV. …Lowers the risk of cancer of the penis.” Thank you for your hard work! God bless you!

    • Thank you so much for the feedback, Yelena. It’s great to hear that you’re enjoying the week-by-week! Here’s a longer article on circumcision, which addresses the points you raise.

      The verdict is out on the STD issue, with some data suggesting that foreskin can actually help men fight off HIV and other STDs. But of course the safest path is abstinence or safe sex.

      In a letter to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Cancer Society stated that it “does not consider routine circumcision to be a valid or effective measure to prevent [penile or cervical] cancers. Penile cancer rates in countries which do not practice baby circumcision are lower than those found in the U.S.”

    • All supposed benefits of circumcision are controversial and unproven. Most of the claimed benefits don’t justify the loss and risks anyways. Why circumcise a baby in order to prevent STDs? Is your baby going to be sexually active? I sure hope not. Let him choose how he wants to protect himself. The foreskin is there for a reason and has many functions that will be removed for unproven benefits.

    • Yelena, I encourage you to look at the true numbers– how many get penis cancer and how many babies die from circumcision complications or have massive damage from botched circumcision. The risk is big to cut your boy. The myth that it prevents diseases is just that… a myth. Also, have you looked at what the hospital does with them foreskin? You will be shocked to know they make money off of it by selling to cosmetic companies and biotech companies. Yes, they are profiting off of you and your child’s DNA is being sent who knows where. Do your research, mama!

  41. Thanks for the reminder about delaying the bath! We will try to do this when our son is born (due date is Tuesday so very soon!). I imagine the vernix helps baby stay healthy in the hospital setting too. I’ve read that baby having a very early bath just after birth messes with baby’s internal temperature and can make them too cold. Our first child’s skin kept turning blueish in the hospital, I’m guessing that had something to do with it. We are going to try to have all exams done in our room this time too, with baby on my chest if feasible.

  42. Thank you for this! I’m due with my 3rd in August and I really wanted to learn more about all these procedures they do and why they do them! I will be opting out of all of them except for the vit k, still want to do more research on that one! Thank you so much for this post!!

  43. People talking about things being full of chemicals grates on my nerves. You know you’re full of chemicals, right? Water is a chemical, oxygen is a chemical. Saying this makes you sound uneducated and brings unnecessary fear to people. Please be more responsible in your word choice.

    • They mean *harmful* chemicals. It’s just a fact that some chemicals just ain’t good for ya, and hormone disrupting fragrances and the like definitely fall into that category! 🙂

  44. Liliann my second was born at home and we delayed cord clamping about 45 mins. We refused all of these procedures listed. I took alfalfa during my pregnancy and after, which increases the vit. K in both of us in case of hemorage etc. My midwife said if she felt the baby had a rough birth she would reccomend the k, we would have trusted her! My first was at hospital with a hospital midwife. We were able to delay about two-three mins. And refused eye drops, hep b, and vit k. Didn’t know about delaying bath back then. Pku and hearing test were done on both. Neither ever went to a nursery, and had they been boys we would have never done circumcision. Thanks for the post!

  45. I live in a filthy dirty city, as such my children got everything at the hospital. Both were breastfed and my son is un cut, much to the horror of my American friends. There is a high prevalence of non vaccinated illegal immigrants as well as American born children whose parents don’t keep up with their healthcare needs (this is an extremely impoverished community) I used to teach in a daycare and have seen diseases and other nasties that don’t exist in the states anymore. Now the city is in trouble for lead pipes in the schools. Whatever exists to protect my kids that’s proven safe, I’m doing.

  46. You forgot the PKU heel prick and screening for sickle cell anemia without regardless of race

    • Oh yes – that PKU prick was terrible! Actually, not the prick – it was the death squeeze on the foot that traumatized our baby, or maybe more so, us, the parents! Please comment on that. It seems that it is important to be screened for it and it is the one intervention we agreed to, but the person who administered the prick was cold and heartless and did not even give me or my husband time to go comfort our baby. Thankfully, a CNA was in the room at the time and gave us the heads up that we will want to let our baby suck on our finger! It seemed like it was “old hat” to the technician and she had no regard for feelings! We chose oral Vitamin K as that seemed a responsible thing to do without getting the overdose by injection. We refused the eye ointment and Hep B Vaccine b/c we do not live a lifestyle that would open the door to those risks. Our hospital was very accommodating, and I am so thankful, but my midwife warned that there are some hospitals in my state that would not allow us to pass. I plan a birth center birth if we are blessed with a second child. Genevieve, would birth centers follow these same newborn protocols? Which ones would they be willing to skip? I’d appreciate if you’d comment on that. Thanks (-;

      • Hi,
        My baby was born at a birthing center and they did all these things. Although they seemed really nice about us skipping most of them. What we really loved about the birthing center is that the obs and midwives were very natural minded. They only had one room for c sections for absolute emergencies. The nursery only has 3 bassinets also for emergencies. Your only option is to room in. And they don’t offer formula, they very strongly encourage breastfeeding. But I was really happy with the experience.

      • The midwives at the birthing centers mention all these same procedures because the State requires them to by law. The one thing to know is that they are only required by law to inform the mother of all these procedures, but the parents do not have to do any of them, they just have to listen and then if they don’t want any of the procedures, they have full freedom to decline them. Sometimes the midwives may sound like you have to do them, but you do not. They would not mention them if they were not required to by law by the State that you live in. As I was informed, you do not have to do anything you do not want for your baby, so never be feared into believing you have to agree to any of these. I had declined the K supplementation for my second and third babies including everything else on the list and everything was perfect with them, praise God! I started to take Vitamin K supplements myself by the Garden of Life brand shortly before delivery as my midwife said that would help me and the baby in case I had any concerns and I also took Barley Max powder that has alfalfa in it as well, which helped with iron and vitamin K supplementation naturally. I continuing to take both after delivery to help me and the baby get the vitamins post delivery. I wish I would have declined the heel prick also. If you do have one done again, my midwife advised to have it done four days after the baby’s birth as she has seen an overwhelming amount of false positives on babies who had it done before four days passed after the birth. However, the midwife center had me hold the baby in my arms during the prick, so it was a sudden thing for the baby, nevertheless, it hurt terribly and then she had me nurse the baby immediately to help comfort and sooth her. So I am glad it was at least done in the lease invasive and stressful way possible. I hope this helps. Blessings.

      • We did a birth center for our first and our planning on using the same birth center for our second (Lord willing everything goes well!). Our birth center is 5 minutes away from the closest hospital so there’s no c section room or anything, you don’t even stay a night there! They send you home within 6 hours max. They offered all of these procedures except the HepB shot and my midwife very sweetly reminded “everything is optional nothing is forced if you don’t want it.”

      • Heel sticks were part of the treatment that kept my anemic preemie alive. Does it suck? Yes. Will he remember it? No. But he’ll be plenty grateful when he’s older that we allowed heel sticks so he could live. Don’t be so self righteous.

    • We declined PKU for my middle son, and then ended up needing some blood tests done later that would have been covered at that point. It was horrific.

      We were advised to do a needle stick with my daughter but declined thinking the heal prick would be much less traumatic.

      Turns out the techs were right, though they had a seriously crappy attitude about it. We never got enough blood from her heel and opted for the needle the second time around, and it was sooooo much better.

      We will do PKU via needle the next time around.

      • Thanks for sharing. Sorry to hear it was so horrific 🙁 I’m going to update this post with PKU included. Xo

        • I know the heel prick may seem or be traumatic, but please do not ever opt out!!! Our son was diagnosed with PKU through the screen and without it, we wouldn’t have known until he had irreversible brain damage!!! Because we found out, we could start treating him at a week old and he is a perfectly happy, healthy 3-month-old!

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About the Author

Genevieve Howland is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding advocate. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course. A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 75,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.

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