Posted by Dana Hinders on March 29, 2012
Everyday, mothers must make hundreds of decisions relating to the health and safety of their children. One of the most challenging decisions for many new mothers is whether or not to breastfeed their babies.
A recent study conducted by the Connecticut Pregnancy Exposure Information Service (CPEIS) indicates that women who take antidepressants during pregnancy are about 60 percent less likely to breastfeed their infants than women who do not take the medication during pregnancy.
Breastfeeding is said to offer many different benefits for your baby. Breast milk is thought to reduce the risk of a child developing diabetes, lower the risk of obesity, promote higher IQs, and even reduce the number of ear or respiratory infections a child might have. Nursing can also be a very satisfying bonding experience for both mother and child.
When you breastfeed, everything you eat or drink affects your breast milk to some extent. This is why it is important to get proper nutrition while breastfeeding. However, if you would like to nurse, don’t assume that you must choose between your baby and your antidepressant medication. Many antidepressant medications are thought to be safe for nursing mothers. Zoloft, for example, has found to be virtually undetectable in breast milk. Discussing the issue with your healthcare provider and a qualified lactation consultant can help you make the right decision for you and your baby.
If you’re taking antidepressants after being diagnosed with postpartum depression, never discontinue your medication without speaking to your healthcare provider. Postpartum depression is nothing to be ashamed of, but it is a serious mental health condition. If untreated, it can cause you to have thoughts of harming yourself and/or your baby.
Although breastfeeding offers many benefits, it’s not always possible in every case. Women with severe depression may find breastfeeding to be difficult even with a strong support system. If you wish to formula-feed your baby, your doctor can help you choose a formula that offers the best possible nutritional benefits for your child.