post partum depression better after weaning breastfeeding? - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-23-2007, 08:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm 7 month post partum with twins that I exclusively breastfeed. I've had a horrible struggle with post partum anxiety/depression.
I was on zoloft for 4 months which didn't do a whole lot except make me feel very jittery for the entire time I was on it. I'm now off meds and debating what to do as a next step.

I am increasingly convinced that my depression was triggered by the drop in hormones (specifically estrogen) that occurred when I delivered. I have a history of pretty significant mood changes prior to my periods. I had a really crappy and scary twin pregnancy (pre-term labor and bedrest for 4 months) but my mood was fantastic the entire time. I wonder if this was due to the high levels of hormones that I experienced during pregnancy. I think I do much better emotionally when my estrogen level is relatively high.

I have found myself increasingly wondering what would happen if I weaned. I know that breastfeeding is a very low estrogenic state and I wonder if it is potentiating my depression?

Anyone have their depression/anxiety improve with weaning? Have you ever read of this scenario? Any thoughts?

This would be a drastic move for me to make but I'm so desperate to feel like myself again.

thx so much for any thoughts,
Rachel
mom to H and J
7 months
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Old 04-23-2007, 09:01 PM
 
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Everything I've read says that the hormone changes that would accompany weaning would make PPD WORSE, not better.

Hope things look up for you soon.

-Angela
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Old 04-23-2007, 09:04 PM
 
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In my experience, weaning would not have helped. When I was feeling disconnected, it was all that was keeping me attached to my daughter. Plus, there are hormonal shifts that happen when you wean, and you would no longer have those good breastfeeding hormones. Sadly, it's pretty common advice from "professionals" who tend to see breastfeeding as one more hardship.

That said, I didn't have twins, so I can't speak to that aspect. Are you working with a doc? Could you get your hormone levels checked and maybe work things from that angle? Are there other medications you're willing to try? Do you have help? Now that the weather is nicer (well, here anyway. I'm not sure where you are) can you get out more?

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Old 04-23-2007, 10:11 PM
 
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I don't know about estrogen levels and breastfeeding. ?

I do know that for me, sleep is what really helped me feel more normal. I was beyond sleep deprived. My therapist encouraged me to have my husband take the night feedings but that would be hard to do with breastfed twins. I have alot of information that says breastfeeding will help with the hormones that are off by pregnancy but since my oldest and I didn't breastfeed, I don't know about that (for me).


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Old 04-23-2007, 10:24 PM
 
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in my case, absolutely NOT...breastfeeding was the only reason (seriously) that I felt that I had anything to offer DS#1...the only thing that kept me from loosing it...the only thing that forced me to keep it together...I kept reminding myself that if something happened to me or if I lost it "who would feed the baby?"...I had a really hard time with him, and apparently defied all odds and didn't have any ppd with either of my other kids...it does get better...but I can say that sitting down to nurse, looking at that little face getting his nourishment from me was what kept it together for me....of course, I know now that our bodies secrete hormones during nursing that make us feel peaceful and serene, thus assisting in the cementing of the mother/child relationship...I would offer my example as a suggestion to keep nursing
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Old 04-24-2007, 04:19 PM
 
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honestly, I have wondered that same thing as the OP. I know that hormones can seriously affect mood. I too, have horrible mood swings during PMS. I am not bad enough to consider weaning though, for that reason alone. Zoloft is working fine for me.
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Old 04-30-2007, 12:28 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post
In my experience, weaning would not have helped. When I was feeling disconnected, it was all that was keeping me attached to my daughter. Plus, there are hormonal shifts that happen when you wean, and you would no longer have those good breastfeeding hormones. Sadly, it's pretty common advice from "professionals" who tend to see breastfeeding as one more hardship.

That said, I didn't have twins, so I can't speak to that aspect. Are you working with a doc? Could you get your hormone levels checked and maybe work things from that angle? Are there other medications you're willing to try? Do you have help? Now that the weather is nicer (well, here anyway. I'm not sure where you are) can you get out more?
: with dd1 I finally quit bf (DR advice) to take meds. It made the depression soooooooo much worse. I just look at her and felt like I let her down. Then I felt she didnt need me anymore- I felt emotionally paralyzed ( worse than when I was bf). I agree with pp- it was the one thing keeping me attached to dd.
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Old 04-30-2007, 12:33 AM
 
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There are several other meds you can take that are safe while bfing I would try those before I considered weaning. For me weaning would have probably cost me my life because all that kept me going was knowing that dd had to have my milk. It was a horrible spot to be in thinking about it now causes me to feel ill.

I took serzone when dd was around 18 months old and it helped as well as the zoloft without the loss of sex drive.

 
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Old 05-03-2007, 11:38 PM
 
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I was unable to get dd to latch on and pumped for her (also had low supply). I tried all the tricks, took several lactogenic herbs and even prescription meds, went to see Dr. Jack Newman a few times, etc. but I couldn't get dd to take the breast. In the end, when I weaned pumping, I felt such a relief and a lightening of my mood because suddenly I had more time, got more sleep, was able to keep up with my busy baby, and didn't have a constant reminder of what I perceived as my failure. So for me yes, there was a lifting of mood. But the PPD came back anyway.

rachelebelle - listen to what your gut is telling you. What do you need right now? More sleep? The odd break?

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Old 05-04-2007, 12:54 AM
 
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I struggle with depression and my PPD is horrible. I, also, have serious problems with hormones. Hormone birth control is the worst thing that ever happened to me.

I didn't nurse my older two dds. With my oldest I had such bad PPD that I couldn't even get up with her at night, but that was 8.5 years ago, so no one recognized it for what it was. With my middle dd I was actually hospitalized. With my nursling, my PPD has been there, but much better. I really believe breastfeeding has helped my PPD immensly.

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Old 05-04-2007, 02:23 PM
 
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My therapist (who I have been talking to for over a year now for PTSD, PPD, and reg. depression) said that I need to be careful about weaning as it can increase symptoms of depression due to the drop in hormones. DD is 19 months and nurses a few times a day, if I decide to wean her after she is two, I will do it very gradually to make sure I don't trigger another depressive episode, per the instructions of my therapist.
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Old 05-07-2007, 08:31 PM
 
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I had this happen to me...
PPD hit me when DD started to eat solids and went down to only night nursing. I went to my midwife and begged to "feel normal" again. She prescribed Zoloft/Sertraline and I've been feeling so much better, but whenever DD changes her nursing patterns I get a little "wonky" because of the hormonal shifts. I also was one of those people that got seriously PMS'y.
Like the OP, I had a great birth and didn't have mood swings or anything during pregnancy or after, it was only when DD started weaning that things got crazy.
I'd talk to your HCP and see what they have to say.
You can nurse while on Zoloft/Sertraline, especially if you're weaning.

Summer: crafty mama to 2 little girls and wife to Bob
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Old 05-13-2007, 03:20 PM
 
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My DC3 was severely allergic to any dairy products that I ingested. I did the whole elimination diet but there was minute ammounts of dairy in things that I didn't know about and BF was not working. I had to stop breastfeeding. That did not help my PPD at all!
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Old 05-13-2007, 03:26 PM
 
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It helped mine, but a good portion of my PPD was tied up in breastfeeding issues. And she weaned very gradually, which helped with hormones.

In a regular, full time, not having to supplement nursing relationship, I would say a definite NO to it helping. Bottlefeeding is a ton of work, plus you lose all those happy hormones.

-sarah-
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Old 05-15-2007, 12:39 PM
 
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My experience with PPD and hormone levels is related to birth control. My doctor put me on the "mini-pill" (Errin) at 10 wks. post-partum and I never thought twice about it. I was breastfeeding exclusively at the time and my period hadn't come back and, frankly, It was a while before I even managed to "reconvene the procedure," so I didn't really need it. But I was used to taking birth control and really didn't want another baby right away, so I took it.

Shortly before we planned to start trying for the second baby my period still hadn't returned, so I quit taking the pill. It was the most amazing thing: within a couple of days, I felt like *me* again. I hadn't even realized that I wasn't myself until I was again.

And I'm still breastfeeding my 15-month-old.

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Old 05-27-2007, 08:11 AM
 
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Hi I agree - ppd is hormone based - and I have heard from many dr's and even mw's tht stopping bf will regulate hormones, however there is no proof anf other research saying it doesn;t change anything - I am bf my 13 mth old and still haver PPD even though I take the vivelle dot patch estrogen replacement (and prog at night) and am npot willing to wean as myt ppd has gotten alot better with the hormone replacement, lexapro )but didnt start that until recently) and therapy...

I think it is a personal decision but there are alot of docs that say weaning with change homrone levels. Maybe you could look into replacement first before weaning...OH, an btw my lc told me that estrogen repalcement would cause probs with my mil supply, but I have taken .1 and now.05 dose and NO ISSUES with milk supply and she was very shocked....

GL mama and email me at taragowland @ aparnet .ca if you need any more ?'s answered or just want ot chat!

Tara
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Old 05-27-2007, 08:13 AM
 
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[QUOTE=annettemarie;7931900]In my experience, weaning would not have helped. When I was feeling disconnected, it was all that was keeping me attached to my daughter. Plus, there are hormonal shifts that happen when you wean, and you would no longer have those good breastfeeding hormones. Sadly, it's pretty common advice from "professionals" who tend to see breastfeeding as one more hardship.

YES - this is what helped me - even though I had alot of pain when I first started nursing and had every reason to quit - it was the only thing that not only kept me attached to outr ds, but it also kept me from disonnecting completely from life,,,,GREAT comment mama!

Tara
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Old 05-31-2007, 06:46 PM
 
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I've read that estrogen dominance can be associated with depression (johnleemd.com). Isn't progesterone the dominant hormone during nursing? I think during pregnancy, too. So I don't think weaning would help. Maybe you can find a doctor who's willing to work with you re: natural progesterone?
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