How to reconcile needing meds while breastfeeding? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 02-13-2012, 12:19 PM - Thread Starter
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First of all, I'm not sure if I should be posting here, or in the general mental health area. If it is inappropriate for this section, I do apologize, but I thought I would find more breastfeeding mothers here.

I am certainly depressed, but I'm not sure if it is postpartum depression.

My daughter is 5 months old. Easy, unassisted birth, no birth trauma. We had a heck of a time with breastfeeding in the beginning, with a terrible case of thrush, and latching problems. We never had to supplement, I just suffered through great pain for two months, and we are fine now. She is healthy, happy and the only true joy in my life.

The only really "PPD" thing that I seem to be suffering from is intrusive thoughts. They are very much in high gear, all the time. They started immediately after my son's death and continued through the pregnancy with my daughter and are now in full swing. Not thoughts of intentionally harming her, but this cold fear because I am always thinking of ways she could be accidentally hurt or killed.

My oldest, who is 5, has severe mental problems. It is very hard to convince a doctor of this, because he is advanced in all areas and he is very manipulative. He has Oppositional Defiant Disorder, ADHD and I suspect childhood depression. We have been doing Feingold (diet) for two months, and that has nearly eliminated all symptoms of his ADHD. With the ADHD gone, the ODD really shines. He is violent and mean. Every second of every day with this child is hard. He is a miserable child, never happy. He tells me horrible things, and he speaks daily of killing me, telling me how he is going to do it.

I am very consistent with appropriate discipline, to the point of sheer nervous breakdown every day. Being consistent is exhausting, especially when nothing ever works.

I am trying very hard to get help for my son, but our insurance company is fighting me every step of the way.

I recently discovered that my husband has been hiding a huge tax debt from me. It is at $20k right now and growing. (He didn't file his taxes from 2002-present, and the 20k is just from 2002-04.) He has known about this for months, and in trying to hide it from me he has made ignorant mistakes that have cost us even more money. It will be months before we know the full amount that we owe the IRS, and this means that instead of moving to a house with a yard in May as we have been planning, we are going to have to move to an older two bedroom apartment, because it is all we can afford.

I live hours from friends and family. My marriage is not one filled with love and laughter. My husband doesn't talk much, and he routinely hides the details of our finances from me. He isn't someone I can talk to, much. He cares for me, and he sees what is happening to me and he has been encouraging me to get help, but we are both scared that if I get meds it will affect our daughter negatively in some way.

I have a lot of unresolved grief from my son's death, and I have anxiety issues that I suspect stems primarily from that.

I have a hard time going places with my oldest son without having embarrassing panic attacks. The park, play groups, stores... its all very hard because of his behavior. He talks very hatefully to me in all situations - we never have a normal conversation - and he is aggressive with other children.

I wake up every day with a feeling of dread. I have no energy, I am annoyed all the time. I am pulling away from friends and family, and I can't find the energy to form new friendships with people I meet locally. I get nauseous every night as it is time to go to bed, because I know I have to wake up the next day and suffer through another day in this life. I never look forward to anything, ever.

I am so sad for my daughter, because I feel like she is being short changed by my depression. She is such a wonderful child, she is easy going and loving and funny. I do enjoy her, but sometimes I feel like I am just going through the motions and operating in a fog. She deserves better than that.

I feel like I am going to implode most days. I can't do therapy, because I don't have anyone to keep my children. My husband works 70 hours a week, no joke, and there just isn't time. No one will ever watch my son more than once, he is just too bad.

I was on Prozac for a short time after my son died and before I conceived my daughter, and I responded well to it. I just don't know if I should get on something again, or not.

Please, please don't feel like I am judging anyone here that takes meds. I understand, I really do. I know I need them. But I wonder sometimes if taking meds is just going to cause me MORE anxiety because I will be worried about passing it on to my daughter. All of the commercials about the lawsuits for anti-depressants, causing birth defects and such... those really get to me. And I hear them on the radio and tv daily.

Can those of you who have decided to take meds tell me how you came to terms with it while breastfeeding?

I would love to hear any advice or personal experiences anyone has to share.

When I spend every day working so hard to make sure my family eats real, healthy food (Nourishing Traditions/ GAPs/Feingold) it is hard to come to terms with needing a man made chemical to survive my life.

Laura, mama to Henry 01.28.07 uc.jpg
candle.gif missing Jack, born still in the car 08.23.10 at 36 weeks 
Loving on Catherine, my  rainbow1284.gif 09.01.11, UC

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#2 of 13 Old 02-13-2012, 03:52 PM
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Oh Momma


I am so sorry to read about your experiences.  I can't even begin to imagine how difficult life is for you right now. 


I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful son.


Oh gosh I'm sorry that I don't have a magic wand to wave and make you feel better.


You have so much on your plate right and very little in the way of support from your partner, family and friends.


All I can say is that, you do have a right for your physical, mental, emotional etc needs to be attended to.  That is paramount. 


You sound extremely caring and concerned about not exposing your daugther to the effects of drugs.  I do not know anything about the impact of Prozac on a breastfed baby.  But perhaps there is good information out there or from a good specialist or doctor who specializes in lactation to give you the best advice.


My situation is different, but I ended up taking Domperidone because of low supply issues with my breastmilk. I had exhausted all other natural methods for boosting my supply but they did not ultimately make the improvement I was looking for.  I was comfortable with my decision to take Dom because ultimately my goal was to improve my milk suppy, and I weighed up the risks and was overall confident about taking it.  So I guess what I'm trying to say is that you have done everything humanly possible to cope with what you are going through, so it's not unreasonable that you would be considering medication.  And you know, maybe you might not need to take for a long time, just to help you through these really dark times.


You said that you find yourself pulling away from family and friends.  Sometimes I have found that when I do open up to someone who I think I can trust, it really does help.  You don't have to be the strong person all the time and perhaps there is someone in your life that you can at least open up to and talk to so that you feel less alone with what you are going through.  Maybe you might be surprised at the level of care that someone in your life will offer you if you open up a little to them.


I'm sorry Momma, I wish I could do more to help.  All I can do is read your story and offer my heartfelt sympathy.

41 y/o married Mama, 4 y/o DS1, Angel Baby lost in Sep 2013, Angel Baby lost March 2014, 3 months old DS2.
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#3 of 13 Old 02-14-2012, 01:09 PM
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Oh honey, I'm so sorry. You've been thru so much!


This website really helped me alot:


I've been on lexapro for a year and a half. I was not a good mother with out it. I couldn't function to take care of my son. Lexapro helped me to climb out of the hole of drepression I was in. I had a horrible birth, ended up w/a CS I didn't want, I couldn't get my babe to latch, so I pumped milk every 3 hrs for MONTHS, and went back to work when he was 8wks old, and raised him as a single mom.

I just couldn't do it w/out the meds. My son needed a mother, he needed me, so I took them.

I don't like taking meds, I'll deal w/ seasonal allergies, pain, and try natural meds before I take rx meds, but I *NEEDED* this. It was the lesser of 2 evils. I was afraid of what I might do to my son if I didn't take it. It wasn't that I didn't love him, I was afraid I wasn't good enough of a mom to be his mama. He needed more than me.

If there had been any side effects, I would have stopped, but there weren't. I feel a million times better, and I am the mother my sweet boy deserves. Life is better for both of us. I did this for him, and i'd do it again in a heart beat.


Please feel free to PM me if you want to talk more.

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#4 of 13 Old 02-16-2012, 04:48 AM
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Sorry to hear things are so hard right now.  There are plenty of medication options that are safe for breastfeeding.  I wouldn't worry about it, honestly.  I do hope you can get some help for you and your son, soon.

DS (6.06), DD (10.08), DD (05.11).

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#5 of 13 Old 02-16-2012, 06:37 PM
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I am so sorry that you are going through all of this hun :-( I have no advice with the medication but I believe therapy is so incredibly important even if you are taking meds. Can you do phone sessions? Keep the baby with you and have your husband watch the other kids? Your mental health has to be a priority. **Hug**.

Claire, book reading, tree loving, coffee drinking wife to K, and happy SAHM to ds G Feb '09 home birth, dd C ~ free birthed June '11, and now a new lil surprise due October 2012 joy.gif

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#6 of 13 Old 02-17-2012, 10:01 PM
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You can reconcile it because you are capital D Depressed. Not only do you have enough going on to depress a rainbow fairy, I can tell it permeates everything right now. If you had the kind of depression that a little bit of fresh air and exercise would take care of, then that's what you would do, not take meds. But you have serious depression. It needs meds. I don't have specific experience with my own depression, but the way you write reminds me so much of my nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. I threw up a dozen times a day- protein and sea bands were not appropriate treatment. That was like a band-aid on an amputation. I needed drugs to survive- I took Zofran. Same for you. You need the meds. Not everybody's brain or body works right- who knows why.


And any halfway decent tax lawyer should be able to help you with that tax debt. Do you have a low income tax clinic in your area? Law schools? Or heck, ask whoever you are dealing with at the IRS to refer you to someone. I know everybody hates the IRS, but as an agency they really do want to help you. They want their money, but they don't want you destitute and out on the street. There's even a taxpayer advocacy line-,,id=212313,00.html

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#7 of 13 Old 02-21-2012, 09:29 AM
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Do not hesitate to take medication if that's what you need. I took Zoloft and breastfed my daughter starting at 4 months until we stopped breastfeeding at 19 months. She is 3 years old now & thriving. Zoloft is considered safe for breastfeeding. Please don't let yourself suffer any longer.

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#8 of 13 Old 03-01-2012, 11:34 AM
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Mama, I want to hug you so badly right now. I am so sorry. Your life sounds incredibly difficult. You have survived much.


I agree w/the other posters. Your mental and physical health is paramount. 


There is some very solid research out there about how much Zoloft gets into your milk, and honestly, it seems like it's not a lot. Check out the facts here:


I am on Zoloft. I started taking it after my son was born. I had terrible PPD/PTSD. I am a better mom with it. I was worried about it for the same reasons you are. But I have to say that even though I would've loved to have been able to not take it, that wasn't possible in my situation. At some point, tradeoffs have to be made. When I was miserable and struggling to maintain a grip on my sanity, I wasn't able to be the kind of mama I really wanted to be. My breastmilk was "pure," whatever that really means. So my kiddo got that, but he also had a mother who cried all the time and was miserable. What I'm saying is, to me, having a mother struggling like that is just as bad if not worse than having a teeny bit of Zoloft in his milk.


But that was of course, just my own take on things. I don't judge others at all for their own medication choices. It all comes down to what's working for you and your family. But darn mama, you really do sound like you need some relief. I hope you get it soon.


Hugs. xoxo

"The Mothers are the brave ones." - Call the Midwife

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#9 of 13 Old 03-01-2012, 07:56 PM
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I cannot offer any advice on the meds, except that you need to take care of yourself, to be the mama that Henry and Catherine deserve so that you can help Catherine to grow up strong and fight the fight that Henry needs you to fight for him with the doctors/insurance company. It's obvious you love your children so much- make sure you love yourself, too. I remember reading about the loss of your son and I imagine you are still dealing with some pretty strong demons from losing him.




take care, mama. your kids love you (even if Henry is fighting a battle that makes him say otherwise).

Children's librarian, married to J since 5/12, with 3 cat.gifand 1 crazy dog2.gif. TTC #1, planning on femalesling.GIF, bfinfant.gif, and cd.gif.

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#10 of 13 Old 04-05-2012, 05:24 PM
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grouphug.gif grouphug.gifgrouphug.gifgrouphug.gif  Hugs galore to you!  I would also very much encourage you to find a counselor to help you through this in addition to meds.  You have a lot on your plate and it would be great if you could find someone objective to talk to about it.  grouphug.gif  grouphug.gif grouphug.gif  grouphug.gif


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#11 of 13 Old 04-20-2012, 05:55 AM
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Checking in to see what you decided.  I hope you took a step toward feeling better, and in my mind, yes, that would include meds.  Zoloft is VERY safe to take while breastfeeding.  In fact, the research now shows that it is worse for a child to have a depressed mother than it is to be exposed to any medicine in the breastmilk.  Zoloft does NOT make it in to breastmilk in any detectable amount, so hopefully that knowledge helps.  


I hope that you are feeling better.  

Mom to two beautiful boys, now in school to be a therapist and help other women with PPD.  

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#12 of 13 Old 04-20-2012, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by mom0810 View Post

Checking in to see what you decided.  I hope you took a step toward feeling better, and in my mind, yes, that would include meds.  Zoloft is VERY safe to take while breastfeeding.  In fact, the research now shows that it is worse for a child to have a depressed mother than it is to be exposed to any medicine in the breastmilk.  Zoloft does NOT make it in to breastmilk in any detectable amount, so hopefully that knowledge helps.  


I hope that you are feeling better.  


 I hope you are feeling better too. The above knowledge is what helped me. I was resistant to taking medication and put it off until my son was 11 months. Now I take Zoloft and my only regret is that I didn't start taking it sooner. I feel like I missed out on my son's first year of life.

Now mom to DS1 born January 2010 and DS2 born December 2014!

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#13 of 13 Old 06-05-2012, 10:11 AM
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I can definitely say Zoloft has saved me. I have OCD and depression and I started Zoloft just after my daughter was born. She's going to be 1 in the next 2 weeks and she's doing great. We're still breastfeeding and going strong. It was prescribed to me by a psychiatrist who specialized in post-partum mental health issues, with my breastfeeding in mind.

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