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Radiation Alert Symbol

Nursing mothers who are near the affected area can be exposed to radiation, and can eat, drink, or breathe in radioactive material. Radioactive material can be passed to babies through breast milk.

  • When near the affected area and breastfeeding…
    • Nursing mothers should consider temporarily stopping breastfeeding and switching either to breast milk (that was pumped and stored before the exposure) or formula, until the mother can be seen by a doctor.
    • Formula and feeding supplies should be cleaned with a damp cloth or clean towel. Put the used cloth or towel in a plastic bag or other sealable container and place the bag in an out-of-the-way place, away from other people and pets.
    • If no other source of food is available for your baby, continue to breastfeed. Wash your nipple and breast thoroughly with soap and warm water and gently wipe around and away from your baby’s mouth before nursing.
  • If a nursing mother temporarily discontinues breastfeeding, she can still pump her breast milk and discard it.
  • For additional questions or concerns, contact your doctor.
Page last reviewed: April 4, 2018
Content source: National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH), Emergency Management, Radiation, and Chemical Branch