Antidepressant Use During Breastfeeding

I am asking for some personal information here, so please don’t feel pressure to comment or use any kind of real name. I would, however, greatly appreciate any of your story you feel comfortable sharing.
I think this is a topic that we don’t hear enough about, and the decision to use medication while breastfeeding is a highly polarizing one. I have heard people say that breastfeeding is so important that any potential risk is minimal, and I have also heard it said that no risk is worth taking when it comes to your child’s health.

I thank you ahead of time for sharing your experience, even if simply to answer the poll question. Feel free to explain or add whatever you wish in the comments section. I hope to see some lively discussion, and I will get back to you with the results and some research, as well.

I would like to thank PhDinParenting for answering my plea for help in developing this poll – she came through in spades, as she always does for her own readers.

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8 Responses to “Antidepressant Use During Breastfeeding”

  1. Working with Dr. Hale’s research and a physician who has an understanding of lactation and medication and you can find a medication that will help. At one point we researched when peak plasma levels occurred as well as exactly what problems could happen and adjusted dosage and timing. There is constantly good research happening that can make this journey doable.

    When nursing my oldest, there was concern about one medication I was taking and we did the plasma level research- by the time my next child was around, they concluded that the “danger” in that medication was a reduction in milk supply, which was never an issue for us anyway, so it’s an acceptable risk (for us).

    Our pediatrician was very clear in her opinion on the matter- healthy mom can take better care of a baby.

  2. I used Zoloft while breastfeeding my younger child. I was led to believe it was simply not an option to breastfeed my older son. I nursed successfully for 20 months!

  3. Using AD during breastfeeding, in addition to counseling probably saved mine and my children’s life. Because of an ugly family history of all kinds of cancers that breastfeeding helps prevent, is was too risky to wean- and too risky to not be on the AD.

  4. hmeyer626 Says:

    Giving up BFing would have made me far more depressed on top of every thing else. I did a ton of research using Dr. Hale’s website and books and did what I felt most comfortable with, even thought it wasn’t a “highly recommended” option. I think that having a healthy and happy mom is much more important in the long run.

  5. I ended up taking lexapro b/c it seemed to work better for my symptoms, which were more anxiety related. I did a bunch of research & consulted with my midwife, doctor & emailed Dr. Jack Newman (who is just amazing) for his feedback – which was, take the SSRI & keep breastfeeding. My babe & I are in the process of weaning now at 23 months. 🙂

  6. I can’t say this affected me but kudos for bringing up an important topic. I am really looking forward to reading about the results you get. As a mental health professional (but not a psychiatrist so not *that* professional – ha ha) I have often wondered about this but I have not had any clients who this affected, as I mostly work with clients with schizophrenia and/or bipoar disorder who live independently, hospitalized or in group home environments. Anyway, thanks for bringing this issue up! And your poll looks fabulous by the way, the design is so cool!

  7. I started taking zoloft for ppd a few months after my son was born and continued with it for 17 months along with counseling. My Dr. originally suggested another ssri but luckily I had done some research and knew that the one she recommended was one of the worst available for nursing mothers. I did quit for a month or two during that time but was also dealing with our family breaking up and realized that the depression that ensued was severly affecting my ability to mother him well. I nursed him until he was 21 months old.

    I think it’s great you’re getting info out there for nursing mothers suffering from depression. I know that for me it took all I had to get out of bed each day and the process of even minimally researching drugs prior to my appointment was overwhelming. Thanks.

  8. Ah, Jennifer. This is fabulous. We all need to know more about this topic, and anecdotally, how women have coped/fared with whatever choice they make. As a midwife, my clients have been the ones to educate me and keep/make me better aware of the issues surrounding this important topic. I can try and keep up with the literature, but what I really want to know is what has worked. And what I also want to have available is several options so that women can with full freedom, choose what works best for them and their situations. Thanks–

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