I have a big history of deperession. I took tri-cyclic antidepressents for a few years, back before something better was available. [Note: these old drugs had side effects like mega-sweating, dehydration/constipation, even a wacky visual disturbance when starting. The "new" drugs have none of these annoying side effects.] I had been off all meds for about 10 years when my baby was born.
For the first 2-3 days after the delivery, everything was fine. Then the endorphins ended, and I started to have big anxiety issues. For example, worrying that others would drop the baby, worrying that my husband would be in a car crash, and more! And, I worried that the worrying would get worse :-)
At 6 days old, I called a counsellor on my employers health-line. The (Male) counsellor was not very supportive. He (correctly) suggested generalize anxiety disorder, but did not offer the reassurance that I was looking for. He gave me 3 names of local, women therapists. One called me back the same day, and made an appointment for the NEXT day. For best service, be sure to mention you have a 6-day-old baby :-)
The anxiety was much less by the 2nd week. I had 4 or 5 meetings with the counselor [FREE from the employer's health plan.] On the last one, I asked what she though about about Paxil or Zoloft for me. She though it would be a good idea.
I took my 8-week old baby with me to see my primary care Dr. When you bring an 8-week old with you, and say you are anxious, it is REALLY easy to get the meds! The only real question she had was if it was OK with the pediatrician, because I was breast feeding. Pediatrician said it was just fine. Paxil is on their list of "approved" meds for breastfeeding. I think close to 10% or adult women are on Paxil or Zoloft!
I had a choice between Paxil and Zoloft (they are pretty similar as far as I have heard). I started Paxil at 5mg per day, and worked up to 20mg. [If you don't have perscription drug coverage, ask for the 40 mg and split it. It will save you $$$.] The initial side-effects from Paxil were sleepyness. But with a BF young baby this is just fine, compared to aniety.
My baby is over 2 now, still BF. He is happy, healthy, and doing really great! There have been NO effects of the Paxil on the baby that we have noticed. In fact, he is verbally WAY ahead of his peers.
In the long term, I plan to continue the Paxil. I have a little tiredness, but this is nothing compared to the un-ending anxiety I had, for years and years before the baby was born. I have been able to travel with my little guy, something that would have been very hard without the meds.
I am posting this anonymously due to medical-privacy issues. I am not a fan of meds. I know lots of other women here are not either. I am posting this to reassure those of you who need it. PPD/PPA are caused by brain chemistry. The meds can be a big help in fixing this. And, you don't need to stop breast feeding to try them!