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Contact: Vicki Cohn, (914) 740-2100,
Is Breastfeeding Safe If Mother Is Exposed to Radiation?--Focus on Infant Well-Being in the Aftermath of the Japanese Tsunami

New Rochelle, NY, April 7, 2011-Breastfeeding provides hydration, nutrition, infection protection, comfort, and security in times of disaster, such as the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, but are women exposed to even low levels of radiation at risk of passing along the radiation in breast milk? Recommendations for continued breastfeeding of infants of all ages are presented in a timely and compelling editorial in Breastfeeding Medicine, the Official Journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. The editorial is available free online

Ruth Lawrence, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Breastfeeding Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics, University of Rochester School of Medicine, answers the question, "Is it safe to breastfeed in light of the potential for radiation exposure?" in the editorial entitled, "Disasters at Home and Abroad." Yes, she concludes; in fact, breastfeeding is "safer than formula and contaminated water.…The best thing a lactating woman can do is to continue to breastfeed." Dr. Lawrence advises that women take the recommended dose of potassium iodide, if such measures are deemed necessary. Breastfed infants under the age of 3-4 months will receive a sufficient dose in the breast milk, but older and larger infants will need one direct dose of potassium iodide.

Breastfeeding Medicine, the Official Journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine is an authoritative, peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary journal published bimonthly in print and online. The Journal publishes original scientific papers, reviews, and case studies on a broad spectrum of topics in lactation medicine. It presents evidence-based research advances and explores the immediate and long-term outcomes of breastfeeding, including the epidemiologic, physiologic, and psychological benefits of breastfeeding.