16 answers

Mental Health, Meds, and Breastfeeding

I'm a new mommy to a wonderful little baby girl who is now six months old. I was diagnosed with Bioplar and OCD approx 2 years ago. I tried different meds and finally found one that worked for me. After being on this med for about a month we were FINALLY pregnant!! (We had been tring for a 1 1/2!). I stopped my bipolar meds cold turkey (per my dr) the minute I found out I was pregnant. I have been off of my meds for 16 months now. But, I'm feeling like it is time to start them again. It is getting increasingling difficult to keep myself in check without my meds. My issue is giving up breastfeeding in order to start my meds again. I have had MANY struggles with breastfeeding from day one! I have had to supplement since my daughter was 5 weeks old becuase I do not produce enough, but, I have proudly stuck it out for the past 6 months in order to give her at least half of a feeding with breastmilk. A part of me is not ready to give up this special time that we have together twice a day. But, another part of me is wondering if I'm being the best mom that I could be since I'm not on my meds. Do I give up breastfeeding to go on meds to help myself out mentally, or do I try to stick it out and stay off my meds and continue to breastfeed until she is a year old? I'm pretty sure I know what the right thing to do is. But, I was just wanting some feed back. Thanks :-)

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So What Happened?™

I would first like to say THANK YOU!!!! This was my first time posting on this website and the encouraging words and support I have received from all you mama's is AWESOME!!

I have decided to stop breastfeeding and restart my meds. I have enough frozen milk to last my daughter at least another month which would put her close to 7 1/2 months old. I feel that is great, especially considering all of the problems I have encountered with breastfeeding!

I just want to thank you all again!!! Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Featured Answers

You can breastfeed & take medication.I'am on Zoloft the generic form I was prescribed 50 mgs daily but I only take half so it is 25 mgs & it is plenty to take the edge off yes there are times that I need more but that will come after I quit breastfeeding.I have had depression for 15 yrs so when post partum depression set in after my 2nd & 3rd child I had to go back on medication I should of been on it sooner but I was in denial.

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You have given your precious baby six months of breast milk and THAT is an accomplishment! Please, give yourself permission to get back on your meds. You have given your baby a jump start on her health and it's time to get back to managing yours.

After struggling with depression my entire life, I know that for me, six months was the longest I could go without meds. My kids got six months of breastfeeding and then I had to take care of myself and get back on the meds and it made me a better mom.

It's hard to give up the special time while nursing, but you are bonded with her and it only gets better from here. Don't feel guilty. You've done a wonderful thing for your daughter!

3 moms found this helpful

I agree with all the OP's. What a huge advantage you have given your daughter by breast feeding for so long. It's more than most American babies get, for sure. Just like many things in parenting, this decision is not necessarily cut and dry; you can make arguements for both. But I tend to subscribe to the school of thought that says "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."

One other thought: you are leaving this bonding time behind, but as the mother of three year old twins, I promise you that many new and equally wonderful bonding experiences await you both!

2 moms found this helpful

COngratulations on making the 6 month mark. You have done an awesome job providing for your daughter. If you feel it is time to go back on medication, please do so. You will have a better relationship with your daughter when you are mentally balanced and can enjoy her, than if you get unbalance and have to deal with the stress of nursing. Talk to your husband and your mental health care provider about coming up with a transition plan for you and baby before problems arise.

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I would stop breastfeeding. You've breastfed for 6 WHOLE months. That is wonderful. I agree that breatfeeding up to a year old is recommended (heck, my silly baby breastfed until 3!), but I believe your sanity is more important. I was on Zoloft while I was pregnant and breastfeeding. Zoloft is the only recommended anxiety/depression medication since it does not leak into breast milk. If I was told that I could not take Zoloft while being pregnant or breastfeeing, I GUARANTEE I would just breastfeed as long as I can, and once I feel the anxiety come back, I would get back on the meds and stop breastfeeding.

DO NOT FEEL GUILTY in any way. Your mental health is much more important for you and your family.

Good Luck!

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Your mental state is far more important to your family. Your baby willl continue to love you with or without breastfeeding. By all means, return to the meds and do not feel guilty. Easier said than done (LOL)! Merry Christmas!

2 moms found this helpful

You have done great to breastfeed her this long. Congrats! But you also need to take care of yourself. Her well-being depends upon your well-being. If you are not well, how can you expect to take care of her? I understand that breastfeeding is a wonderful bonding time. But there are other ways to bond. You are a great mother. Take care of yourself and get back on the meds. Good Luck, many blessings!

2 moms found this helpful

It is amazing that you have been able to go as long as you have and take good care of your daughter. You need to remember that what is best for you is also best for her. If breastfeeding has to be given up for her to still have an amazing mommy, that is a fair trade. It can still be a special time with a bottle, I know it was for me, since I wasnt able to keep breastfeeding after a week. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

You can breastfeed & take medication.I'am on Zoloft the generic form I was prescribed 50 mgs daily but I only take half so it is 25 mgs & it is plenty to take the edge off yes there are times that I need more but that will come after I quit breastfeeding.I have had depression for 15 yrs so when post partum depression set in after my 2nd & 3rd child I had to go back on medication I should of been on it sooner but I was in denial.

1 mom found this helpful

First of all... way to go, on making it 6 months, I know it can be difficult. I say, go back on your medication. Your daughter has already gotten the best milk from you anyway. You should be able to enloy this time with your daughter and not be stressed out by being off your medication. I had a similar situation, and going back on my medication gave my daughter and me much more quality HAPPY times then even breastfeeding could give me. Good luck, and just remember, you are a great mom, and you have tried to give your child the best for her!!

1 mom found this helpful

Have you looked up your medication in Dr. Hale' Medications and Mother's Milk? Many medications are safe while breastfeeding, safer than replacing your milk with more formula. Call your local LLL leader or ask your doctor specifically about that book (it is much more breastfeeding friendly and actually has specific information about small studies, half life, etc.). I am bipolar too, so I understand the need for medication (with three kids, oye), and I'm not sure if the medication is not breastfeeding friendly what would be best in your situation, but I will say that it is much easier to have a breastfeeding child. It just makes life easier, an easy instant comfort, less illness, etc. I have been managing mine (which has been much less severe since children, so it may not be comparable to yours) with bioidentical hormones. Maybe something besides the medicine you found to work would work, as our bodies change so much during pregnancy. As the others said, right on for going 6 months, but in MY personal experience (giving leave here that it is very different for other people) mama isn't as happy when she doesn't get to breastfeed.

Good luck, you will do what is best for YOUR family.


1 mom found this helpful

If I were in your shoes, I would be happy for the time you breastfed, but quit now and get back on your meds. Your baby is old enough to start taking on some baby food and supplements anyway and it won't hurt her to switch to a bottle at this point. Don't feel guilty. You just do what is best for your well being and everything else will be fine.

Go back on your meds. Bottle fed babies do just fine and being stable and functioning is so important for being a good mom. Don't beat yourself up. You hung in there really well. You should be super proud of the sacrifices you've made for your child.

Go back on your meds!!! You have done your very best to breastfeed as long as possible. It is more important now that your baby have a very stable mother. You are not doing her any favors by not being at your very best. I wish you well and don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Merry Christmas.

First of all you need to see what the medication is rated from Dr. Hale. Medications and Mother's Milk is a great resource and you can call a La Leche League Leader in this area and ask them for the info.

Another HUGE thing to keep in mind is the actual amount of medication your baby could be getting. Even some harsher medications might be poorly bioavaliable and minuscule amounts are passed to the baby. Your baby also is only nursing twice a day so you can often schedule your meds around that, depending on the half life.

This is really not a reason to wean if you don't want to!

anytime you have a question regarding your health or what is in the best interest of the babies health I would always advise you to get a doctors opinion, that being said...you know you the best of anyone and if you think you need to go back on the meds, don't feel guilty! Breastfeeding is incredible, yes...that being said...the formulas of today are not the formulas that were around when we were children...they are so good they even have formula with DHA in it that is one of the components found in breastmilk. Never feel guilty because you need a medication, I was on anti-deppressants for years and I think I was a Better mom for it, had I not had them I don't even want to contemplate what could have happened. I wish you peace of mind and no guilt in whatever you decide. I hope that you have a very Merry Christmas! B.

First i want to write that it is awesome that you stuck with breastfeeding so long. It is a big accomplishment.On the other hand you really need to take care of yourself.
I would definetly get back on my meds asap. I have dealt with postpartum anxiety with both of my children and am now preg. with my third. I really wanted to breastfeed the other two but couldn't because of the meds I needed to be on. What i did with my 2nd was bottlefeed using skin to skin contact. i would open my shirt and he would not have a shirt on and i would bottlefeed with him snuggled up to me. I know it is not the same but it did make feeding him more special.
With this baby I am going to do the same. I know from my mother in laws experience that if you don't deal with a mental issue it can get really bad. She has been hospitalized because she neglected to take care of it. I hope this helps.

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