Breastfeeding and anti-depressants

The last few months have been a struggle for me on the mood front. With hubby being away so much over the last few weeks, everything came to a head. I was feeling exhausted, tearful, overwhelmed and isolated. I finally realised that I needed to seek help from my GP, who diagnosed me with postnatal depression. She felt that I would benefit from being on anti-depressants. However, she told me that I would have to stop breastfeeding as the medication would pass into my breast milk.


To be honest, I have been hoping to avoid mediation and would prefer to go down the talking therapies route. Those low feelings had been so overwhelming though, that I wondered whether anti-depressants would help take the edge off and give other therapies a better chance of success. Breastfeeding is something I feel so passionate about. I couldn’t bear the thought of having to stop before Sophie or I were ready to. Did I really have to give up breastfeeding?


I posed the question on Twitter using the #PNDFamily hashtag, I soon got a very clear answer. My GP was misinformed. Being on medication would not necessarily mean having to stop breastfeeding.


Breastfeeding and antidepressants - Little Hearts, Big Love

One of the pieces of information I was directed to was a Breastfeeding Network leaflet. I have printed this off to pass on to my GP.   This leaflet lists various tri-cyclic anti-depressants and selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It summarises some of the research on side effects in babies of nursing mothers and the amounts of anti-depressants found to be present in breast milk where this has been studied. It was clear from this leaflet that there were several options of medication potentially available. One of this is sertraline. The leaflet states that this is normally “the SSRI of choice for a breastfeeding mother”.


Since that initial appointment with my GP, I’ve now got extra support from my lovely health visitor in place. I will also be starting cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). I feel a lot better for having admitted to struggling and am trying to focus on the positives. I’d rather not have meds unless I really feel I need them. However it’s reassuring to know I don’t have to give up breastfeeding should I need to go down the medication route.


Zena's Suitcase

12 thoughts on “Breastfeeding and anti-depressants

  1. Glad to hear you’re able to get the help you need without having to stop your breastfeeding journey. I can imagine that would be very difficult for you to have to do. Hope you feel better soon!

    1. Thank you – would have been so upset if I’d had to stop. Feeling better for having more support and taking those first steps on the road to recovery

  2. Oh this must be so difficult. I am glad you don’t have to stop breastfeeding before you and little one feel ready to. I am also glad that you have support from your HV. I hope the CBT goes well =)

    1. Thanks Jenni – we will get there. Wanted to share this in the hope that it will help other mums with PND realise that they don’t have to stop breastfeeding.

  3. Glad you have a supportive health worker. It would have been a shame to stop breast feeding as surely, its a great thing to be doing to help bonding. #sharewithme

    1. Thank you – having a very supportive GP and health visitor has made a huge difference and am so relieved that I can carry on feeding, would have broken my heart to have been forced to stop.

  4. So glad that you managed to find help and support through other means, sometimes communication with other people who feel the same is more beneficial to us than we think. I am glad you have sorted out medication that will mean you can continue breastfeeding x

    1. Thank you – having good support in place has made a lot of difference and am so glad I am able to carry on breastfeeding too.

  5. Glad you are able to get the support and help you need without giving up your breastfeeding! I was so upset when I had to give up feeding MM as I wanted to feed her as long as I did my son. But things happen and looking back I couldhave got better support and kept going. Good for you for reaching out on twitter and finding that support system. Sometimes matters in our own hands are better. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

    1. Thank you Jenny – so sorry you had to give up feeding but hope you also managed to get the support you needed. Hopefully sharing this may help someone else realise that continuing to feed should be an option. Lovely to link up with #sharewithme each week 🙂

  6. Hi Louise. Firstly lovely to meet you at #blogcamp, wasn’t it such a lovely day. I think you summed it up perfectly when you said it’s like meeting friends you haven’t met yet. Secondly thank you for sharing such an open and honest post. As a reader, who has some days when my mood isn’t so great, this was really insightful. I’m glad you’ have got some extra support and some alternative therapies in place, I really hope it helps. Meds can be really helpful, but I agree with you, that it’s best to keep them as an option. You’ll be fine, I’m sure, because you are a strong lady who just needs a bit of help herself and there is no shame in that. Take care Zx

    1. Thank you Zena – was lovely to meet you too and it was a fabulous day. Am getting there on the mood front although having lots of up and down days at the moment but the extra support is really helping and I know I will get there. Hoping that sharing this will help other mums realise that they don’t have to stop breastfeeding if they need meds for postnatal depression – there are options available. Lovely to link up to #BFingDiaries again 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.