Are you suffering from postpartum depression (PPD), or have you been taking antidepressants for a long while, and need them to function? In both cases, breastfeeding mothers often meet with this dilemma: do breastfeeding and antidepressants combine? Is it dangerous to nurse while taking antidepressants? Do you need to wean before taking antidepressants?
Research certainly shows that depression can have a great negative impact on a baby and his development. Babies who experienced a depressed mother for two months or more gain weight more slowly, score lower on IQ tests later on and may have attachment problems with their mother.
Depression can also pose a great threat to a mother's health, including higher chances of suicide. It is clear that you don't want to go on struggling with your depression until you wean your baby, according to the natural schedule mothers and babies may have. But, do you need to wean early to be able to take antidepressants?
Some doctors advise so, but not all do. Some hold the view that the benefits of breastfeeding while taking antidepressant medication outweigh the risks that absorption of a small amount of the medication through the mother's milk pose.
Some medications are safer than others, because some kinds of antidepressants cause addiction. It is advised that SSRI medications are the best, because only very, very low amounts of the medication gets into the mother's milk, and these medications are not habit-forming and have significantly less side effects than other forms of antidepressants. Zoloft is recommended as the best drug for breastfeeding moms who are depressed, and Paxil is another alternative.
For those interested in less conventional medications for depression, St Johns Wort may be good to look into. In any case, it is important to discuss the benefits and risks with your healthcare team before making any decisions, and to be monitored closely.