anxiety and breastfeeding - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 07-03-2010, 01:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have anxiety and panic attacks and I'm struggling with how to deal with it. I have 3 kids ages 6, 3, and 9 months. My husband is deployed right out of basic so he has been gone for 1 year and a half so far (we still have more to go). I have panic attacks over health issues, some real health problems that I'm dealing with but some are fears of something happening to me, my husband, or my kids....like a terminal illness or debilitating disease. I've had generalized anxiety for my whole life but I was always able to handle it with talking myself out of it, staying active, keeping upbeat. It never had an impact on my life. But I had my first panic attack a year ago and I've had several since.

I've had several health practitioners suggest meds and I've always been afraid of being dependent on something and I've always though it would go away eventually. Everytime it is suggested I take something to help, it is always followed by "well you're pregnant/breastfeeding". The last panic attack the Dr. said "maybe it's time to wean your baby and start taking care of YOURSELF. After all you have 2 other kids that are depending on you because YOU are all they have right now." And I can't get that out of my head. Am I causing more harm to my entire family by not taking meds to help with my anxiety? I can't imagine weaning...and I think that it could cause it's own panic attack. I nursed my first till 3 1/2 years old and my second till 2 1/2. My 9 month old is still so young. It comforts me to know that she is getting the highest level of nutrition and comfort. For example, she is teething right now and she is so uncomfortable and fussy and sometimes I can't deal with it because my anxiety gets me so down and hearing her cry makes me want to cry even harder....but I nurse her, she calms down, I calm down, and we all feel better.

Has anyone else been in my position? Did you find something helpful other than meds? Or are there meds out there that I don't know about? I've been taking St. John's wort, fish oil, B complex, and vit. D for the past year...not helping.

I wish that I could take time for myself, exercise, have time for hobbies, etc..but I can't. My kids take all of my time and they need me 100% because they are still so young. Mostly my 9 month old.

Thanks for reading and listening.
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#2 of 8 Old 07-04-2010, 12:25 AM
 
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Have you talked to a lactation consultant (LC)? Doctors tend to be hit and miss with breastfeeding advice and, in my experience, some tend to recommend weaning prematurely, so at least find a doctors who respects ho important breastfeeding is to you. To find a breastfeeding-friendly doctor or LC in your area, post in the find-your-tribe forum. Because simply put, you don't have to choose between your baby's well-being (through breastfeeding) and your own. There is a middle ground!

Once you find a trusted health care provider, keep an open mind to medications. And I say this both as a breastfeeding mother and somebody who is really conservative about meds. I don't think that you'll become "dependent" on the meds because I *suspect* (without knowing you or your history) that this may be a post-partum condition for you and, therefore, temporary. You'll need somebody to confirm a diagnosis, but there's nothing wrong with doing this to get you over the hump.

The American Academy of Pediatrics keeps a list of medications that are safe to take while breastfeeding.

I can't track down the research right now, but I know that medications alone don't work without therapy to go with them. I strongly recommend that you find a therapist if you don't have one already. My therapist has done great work helping me with my rampant OCD. (I have a recent thread all about that )

Good luck, Mama!

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#3 of 8 Old 07-04-2010, 02:31 AM
 
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I would look into a med safe for breastfeeding. I think it would be worse for me too if I had to wean early!
Hope you feel better soon

Deb, Mom to Madeleine 8/2005 and Maia 11/2009 Nick: and Chris
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#4 of 8 Old 07-04-2010, 05:38 PM
 
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Hard cardio exercise can alleviate panic attacks and anxiety. I've used it to help manage anxiety and depression for a long time. The minimum recommended is usually 30 minutes per day X 5 days per week.

My YMCA has a child care center where kids as young as 6 weeks are watched by staff members while their parents exercise. It would give you enough time to take an aerobics class or run on a treadmill or swim or take a spin class or something.

If you can't do that much cardio, you might want to try starting with a couch to 5k program.
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#5 of 8 Old 07-04-2010, 08:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you very much for the responses!! So am I understanding right that there ARE anxiety meds that are safe while breastfeeding??? Several doctors have said no....hmmm. Can anyone tell me some examples?

I should add that I'm currently out of town for the summer so the doctors I've spoken with recently are new to me and I don't want to get too involved in therapy because I'm moving again soon. Could I ask my childrens pediatrician about safe meds? He's a naturopath? Then I could get the dr I'm seeing while I'm out of town to prescribe it.

Thanks everyone. On top of the anxiety I am dealing with other health stuff and I'm at dr appointments about once a week! I might need to take pain meds which I'm also told are not safe while breastfeeding.
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#6 of 8 Old 07-04-2010, 09:38 PM
 
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I have severe general and social anxiety. I took medications when I was nursing DS1, but the recommendations on them have changed. I do know that Adivan and Trazadone are in the probably safe category. There are also quite a few anti depression meds that are effective anti anxiety medications.

I would highly recommend a psychiatrist. In my experience, they have more knowledge about the medications and their impact on pregnant and lactating women.

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#7 of 8 Old 07-05-2010, 01:35 AM
 
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Check this out http://neonatal.ttuhsc.edu/cgi-bin/d...s&access=guest
Also, you can call your pediatrician and ask if they can look in his book, Medications and Mother's Milk. Ours has a copy and I have called for info when I couldn't find it on this forum.

Deb, Mom to Madeleine 8/2005 and Maia 11/2009 Nick: and Chris
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#8 of 8 Old 07-07-2010, 05:19 PM
 
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My best friend is dealing with anxiety and a few other recent health problems and meds were recommended to her, too.

Then she found out she is nearly deficient in estrogen (seriously bad!!) For her it is a combination of nursing and using progesterone only birth control (Mirena). She's learned (I don't know the accuracy) that the ONLY anxiety med that does not further deplete estrogen is Prozac.

Don't know how relevant this is to you, but thought I'd throw it out there.

Also, she is doing heavy duty sessions of nuero-feedback that are helping her anxiety immensely! I don't know much about it (she says it's like reprogramming your brain), I just know she's thrilled!
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