Iodine-induced neonatal hypothyroidism secondary to maternal seaweed consumption: a common practice in some Asian cultures to promote breast milk supply

J Paediatr Child Health. 2011 Oct;47(10):750-2. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1754.2010.01972.x. Epub 2011 Jan 31.


Mild iodine deficiency is a recognised problem in Australia and New Zealand. However, iodine excess can cause hypothyroidism in some infants. We highlight two cases which illustrate the risks of excess dietary iodine intake during pregnancy and breastfeeding. They also describe a cultural practice of consuming seaweed soup to promote breast milk supply. Although most attention recently has been on the inadequacy of iodine in Australian diets, the reverse situation should not be overlooked. Neither feast nor famine is desirable.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Breast Feeding
  • Culture
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypothyroidism / chemically induced*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Iodine / adverse effects*
  • Milk, Human / drug effects*
  • New Zealand
  • Seaweed*


  • Iodine