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Nursing and anti-depressants

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I have an 8.5 month old son and have been having issues with anxiety since he was a few weeks old.  I saw my primary care doctor last week, and am seeing a counselor in a few days.   I was prescribed Paxil (10 mg) by my pcp, but have been too afraid to take it since I am still nursing.

Some days I feel fine, other days it's like a switch gets hit and I am a nervous wreck, which eventually exhausts me and sends me into a depression.   I feel bad because when I'm in one of these moods, I'm not as much of an attentive and fun mother to my son and I don't want him to be negatively effected by my issues. But I'm also very afraid that he will have negative effects from me using Paxil like 10 years down the road.

 Anyone who can share their experience taking Paxil or a similar anti depressant while nursing?  Also interested in stories of those who chose not to use an anti depressant and were able to feel better on their own.

post #2 of 12

Hi AJ,


Before trying the Paxil if you are hesitant, go to your health food store and pick up flower remedies.  They are safe, non toxic and will help your child as well!  What you dont need, does not affect you.  I will suggest what you should try.  As a mom, I know how you feel, and this is what I do for a living now - they changed my life.  It will hopefully reverse the sadness and relieve the anxiety safely!

There are flower remedies I use from all over the world that are fantastic, Bach is sold in the U.S.


You should start with Rescue Remedy.  Put in a 16 oz  water bottle and sip throughout the day.  It will be great for the baby as well, as child birth is traumatic for them.

Tell me what your anxiety feels like and I can suggest more for you and how to take.  Totally natural, will not hurt you or baby, gentle, yet quite profound!


Amy Cohen, BFRP

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

I'm not really interested in taking any flower remedies but thank you for your reply.  I want information on Paxil or similar antidepressants like Zoloft, or from those who didn't use any medication.

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 

I'm really struggling today and could use some reassurance.  I want to just pop one of the pills but I know it won't work right away and might effect him so I'm just obsessing over this decision (part of my anxiety is obsessing over things).  Gah.

post #5 of 12

I am dealing with the same thing. I started to use Zoloft but since have decided against it. For me, it seemed as if it started to make things worse. Be careful on the Paxil because I have read it is highly addictive and hard to get off of. I know you said you are not interested in natural remedies but I have heard a lot of great things about st johns wort. I went today and bought me some of that and some Vit D and Omega 3 supplements. I have decided to try this and go off of the Zoloft.

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the response.  I'm sorry you are dealing with this too.  Are you also still nursing?  Is St Johns Wort OK to use while nursing?


I ended up taking half a pill, 5 mg, today.  I may or may not take another half of one tomorrow depending on how I feel.   It seemed to get rid of some of my anxiety but made me feel a little funny at the same time.  I know I'd have to take it every day for a while to find out if it really works for me, and at that point I'd be committed since it has such a difficult withdrawal.   So I'm torn about whether to take it again or not.  I will let my anxiety level tomorrow decide that. 


Good luck to you, let me know how the natural remedies are working!!

post #7 of 12

Hi AJ, I had severe PPD/borderline postpartum psychosis (severe as in I wasn't allowed to be near knives, scissors, or even nail clippers.... that bad) and was on MAJOR MEDS (120mg Cymbalta, 200 Zoloft, and an anti-psychotic with a name I can't recall) for the first 20 months of my sons life. And I nursed/pumped the whole time. It took a while to find the right med for me (everyone's chemistry is different, so some drugs make things worse, some make it better. It's all a matter of finding the right fit -- just like with shoes). From one sufferer to another, do not get your meds from a PCP or your ob. Go to a psychiatrist simply because they have the knowledge of and experience with psychopharmaceuticals that general doctors lack. A PCP might have attended a seminar on what's the new thing to give to PPD moms (or, more likely, what the sales pitch was from drug companies), but a psychiatrist has actually studied the chemistry behind the drug and can make the appropriate recommendations.


Also, please give LactMed a spin (http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT) is an online database that describes the impact of drugs on breast milk. Every drug from acetamenophen to zoloft is in there and you'll find that many drugs prescribed for PPD do not carry over to breast milk. Here's the link to Paxil's entry: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/search/f?./temp/~qRZTch:1 


Since my case was quite severe, I can't give any comment regarding natural remedies, but I can tell you that IT IS OKAY TO GO ON PRESCRIPTION MEDS FOR DEPRESSION!!!!!!!! My psychiatrist and my son's pediatrician kept a close watch on his development (we were in Cymbalta's patient registry) and there were no deviations from the norm in terms of height, weight, and psychical/emotional/cognitive development.


I wish you much luck.

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thank you for sharing your story.  I am going to continue to take the med for now and proceed with counseling.  I am still extremely concerned about long-term side effects for my baby but stories like yours are a reassurance.   

post #9 of 12

I take Zoloft.  It saved my life.  But it does have withdrawal symptoms that can vary from very mild to more serious issues. I've gone off it before twice and both times it took about 2-3 weeks to get over it.  I did try natural remedies...I know they work for some people.  They didn't for me and all St. John's Wort did was make me sleep all the time and give me an intolerance for sunlight so that I have to wear sunglasses all the time or my corneas fry like a vampire at the beach.  (Whole other long story with the remedy thing and my homeopathic doctor whom I actually still see and is quite good.)  Since I started taking it I have had seven pregnancies and nursed my babies while I was taking it.  My family doctor and my midwife were both fine with it and they specifically  told me to NOT stop taking it.


I don't know if I will be on it for the rest of my life, I've been taking it on and off for about 15 years, but I do know that I can't be without it.  It's too important to my family for me NOT to be on it.  I can focus on the important things and not freak out over the stupid stuff.....I can make decisions without having an anxiety attack and I don't curl up in a ball and want to die when my day is coming off the rails and because of the  Zoloft, my days don't come off the rails as frequently or as bad as they did before.  I have bad days of course but the bad days do not outweigh the good ones and I can be around my children and actually WANT to be around my children.  I'm better with the DH too.  I don't get so angry with him when I can't cope and I don't get mad at him because things are going bad.  I think the Zoloft helps me to be a lot more balanced so that I don't lump things into one big pile and I can compartmentalize so that I don't feel like i'm buried under a mountain of:  "Oh my God, what am I gonna do?" syndrome.  


I hope this helps you have a little more incite........    

Edited by momo7 - 8/7/12 at 11:49am
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks momo :)   Your description of yourself without your meds sounds exactly like me.  I go from anxious to depressed to angry and fly off the handle often, sometimes screaming at my fiance about trivial things.    I am on day 3 of the paxil and already I don't have any desire to scream or fight, I feel like I'm on a more even keel.  However, I'm spacey and a little unmotivated.  Hopefully that changes soon, I'd like to get on with my life.   


I haven''t noticed any side effects in the baby, he's on his same schedule and acting like himself.  If I do stop taking it, it will be because I can't handle the side effects for myself.   But I'm going to try to give it a full 2 weeks to see if the side effects lessen.

post #11 of 12

Hey AJ1115. Just a little update. The St. John's Wort is not working for me. It works for a couple hours and then I am back to the chest discomfort. Therefore, I am going to start on the Zoloft tomorrow. Please keep me update on how you are doing and feeling. We can get through this together. With a little encouragement back and forth.

post #12 of 12

I found that my son's "side effects" (schedule changes, behavior, etc.) happened when I was at my lowest and went off meds, even if was accidental like my prescription ran out and the pharmacy was closed for the weekend. I found that he kinda fed off my emotional state and that made it really hard for me -- and really important that I stick with my meds and my psychiatrist, who was AMAZING, btw.


And withdrawal, yeah, it sucks but look at it this way: nothing in this life is free. 

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