PPD and Bfing...Help!! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 11-04-2009, 06:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi Mamas!

I am writing to get some advice. I was diagnosed with Bi-polar disorder after my 1st son was born 5 1/2 years ago. This was after my antidepressants weren't working and a BAD bout of PPD.

I got pregnant with my 2nd son in July of 2007- had him April 2008- nursed until he was 7 months old at which point I got pregnant again- had my 3rd son in August of this year and am breast feeding him.

I have been pregnant or nursing for the past two years and have not been on any meds bc of the lack of safety to my child.

I did well after the birth of my 2nd son, as far as mental health. Everything felt good. This time around...not so much.

As time goes on, I am noticing I am becoming a bitter, sad person. This is not who I normally am. I need to be taking something to help me. This is not working. I also want to continue breast feeding exclusively for the next 3 months until my son can start some solids and want to bf for a full year. I have thought I could just hold off until he is a year but am recognizing signs in myself that tell me otherwise- ie wanting to crawl in a cave and be alone, not wanting to be around my baby, feeling like even changing a diaper is overwhelming.

I have three boys and I am their primary caregiver- two of which are babies. My 2nd son is only 19 months and my husband has to work so I am looking for any natural reccomendations of medications that can help or medications with minimal side effects. I don't know what to do, any advice is appreciated!

I also posted this in Breastfeeding Forum.
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#2 of 6 Old 11-06-2009, 01:55 PM
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Hugs, mama.

I'm in a very similar position right now, and it's awful. But I just thought I'd share my game plan, since I've been doing a lot of research and putting a lot of thought into it.

First, there don't seem to be any safe mood stabilizers out there. Some women choose to nurse and take them, but they have to monitor their infants carefully. I'm not sure I feel comfortable with the possible risks at this point.

Conventional antidepressants likely won't help you, given your history, and they may actually hurt by inducing mania. That also means a no-go for things like St. John's Wort, sam-e, and 5-htp.

That's the bad news. The good news is, there are still a few things to try:
1) omega-3 supplements. Can't hurt, and may help, and will build your baby's brain. Trials with bipolar patients gave up to 10 grams of the stuff per day. My doc said I can start with two tablespoons a day of fish/flax seed oil and take it from there.
2) exercise. Proven to help. Just hard to get to! I'm enlisting friends to get out with me to at least walk, although I'd like to work in more vigorous things soon. It helps, just not for that long.
3) acupuncture. Another thing that helps for a limited time. My acupuncturist assures me that the effect would last longer if I could come in more frequently, but it's kind of hard to get the child care and the $$$.
4) possibly yoga. I haven't tried this yet, but there's some evidence.
5) bright light therapy (like for seasonal affective disorder). I'm planning on giving this a shot, too.

Ultimately, though, if this combination of things doesn't work for me in the next few months, I plan to wean my dd. It breaks my heart, as I nursed her brother for 2.5 years, and loved the whole experience, but my kids need me to be healthy. That's a real priority. Don't feel badly if you get to the point where you need to make that tough choice.

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#3 of 6 Old 11-07-2009, 01:02 AM
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I don't have any suggestions but I just wanted to second that. Do what you can for as long as you can, but if you get to a point where you feel like you're losing it, wean if you have to. Its hard, I know, it makes you feel like a bad mama but what's really important is you being able to be a mama at all. I don't think anyone would fault someone for needing to wean in order to take medication for a medical condition. And bipolar disorder is a medical condition.

So I say, breastfeed as long as you feel capable of coping, but when it comes down to it-wean when you need to. Your whole family will be the better for it. Formula isn't ideal but it isn't the end of the world either. Or maybe you can find someone who has excess milk and give her donor milk? I did that with my 3rd and it worked out very well.

Cari-mama to Eriq, Lile, Paikea, Kaidyn, and Mieke is here!! 2/9/10
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#4 of 6 Old 11-07-2009, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice.

It breaks my heart to think about weaning my babe. I didn't nurse my first son(bc I was lazy) and had SUCH trouble nursing my 2nd. My 3rd boy is SO easy to nurse, and I adore it. It's just as it should be. However, I know that if I am feeling like I want to run away from my kids, that is not the best mama I can be.

I am going to try some of these suggestions, vocalise and see how long I can hold off.

Thanks for the support!!!!!
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#5 of 6 Old 11-08-2009, 09:44 PM
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Mama, you really need to take care of yourself. If that means weaning your child to go on medication, than you need to consider this. Babies really are affected by their environment and being with a mom that has mental illness can really affect their anxiety levels. They may have a higher risk themselves of developing anxiety and depression when they grow up. So, I would consider this when making your decision about taking medicate.

That said, babies are capable of metabolizing many medications quickly and usually they are only receiving minuscule amounts. Sadly, most physicians aren't even aware of the current research being done into the transmission of medications to mothers milk.

Thomas Hales book says that lithium is an L3, which is moderately safe. If you give me the names of other meds, I can send you the info from Hales book.

I think that vocalise gave you some really great nonpharm ideas for treatment. I believe it's best to stay away from herbals because they haven't been tested and could cause internal damage, ie liver issues, etc.

"Breastfeeding is a robust, biologically stable activity so central to our evolutionary identity that it names the class of animals to which we belong" (Breastfeeding Atlas, Third Edition)
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#6 of 6 Old 11-24-2009, 09:27 PM
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I was diagnosed with bipolar a few years ago, and it was "a possible" diagnosis 12 years ago. I'm currently being seen at Columbia University by psychs that specialize in mood disorders who also are going through hormone issues.

My pdoc is keeping blood levels on me of how much is in my blood stream. We will probably do the same thing with the baby depending on how much medication I'm on by then.
Right now, I'm on Lamictal and Celexa. It's working GREAT! Studies have shown that the only side effect from Lamictal is cleft palate if you take large amounts during the 1st trimester, but even then, the % occurance is equal to people in the general population. Again, the study sample sizes were really small, but ask your dr to check out reprotox.org it keeps lists of all the studies on meds and pregnant women. You might be able to get access through a library or college as well.
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