anxiety and breastfeeding - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 07-09-2009, 12:48 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm sure I'd seen some posts related to this, but I couldn't find anything when I searched.

I think my problem is mostly related to depression that started mid pregnancy and a recent med change, I was on Zoloft and switched to Lexapro a bit over two weeks ago and since then I've become very anxious about breastfeeding.

My daughter is 6.5 weeks and had quite a lot of trouble with breastfeeding, she had a tongue tie which we got snipped, but we need to get another opinion on whether the job was actually done completely, she also has an inefficient suck where she isn't using her jaw as she should and as a consequence some muscles are underdeveloped and feeding is harder work for her than it should be. When she does latch it is sometimes slightly painful, but I don't think fear of pain is much of a factor when it comes to the anxiety.

When the baby cries I start to panic over feeding her and often my husband ends up doing it with tube and syringe. When I experience a let down when she's not feeding, it is intensly painful and very distressing for me. Pumping is also slightly distressing for me.

I've previously breastfed two babies with no issues like this.

I need to figure out if this is something specifically related to breastfeeding/lactating, or if it's just that without knowing it I'm focusing anxiety on to this one issue because of the depression. I had a lot of anxiety before I went on the Zoloft, but I'm struggling to remember whether it was focussed entirely on one issue or not.

Anne, Christian mummy to Nathanael 05/28/03, Ada 06/10/05, Grace 05/24/09
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#2 of 3 Old 07-09-2009, 01:39 AM
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Just some thoughts, but mostly support for you here ...

I don't have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, but it runs in the family and I definitely tend to get stressed about things. We've had a lot of breastfeeding problems with my DD and it has made me what I would call anxious at times. (I had them with problems with BFing my son, too, but this time there have been a wider spectrum of issues.) I sometimes feel anxious when its time to feed her about something related to breastfeeding. (Usually, do I have enough milk for her and is she going to be hungry still? But in the morning I have too much, is she going to get too much foremilk?) I know this all might sound a little silly.

I'm still waiting for BFing to become truly an enjoyable experience and something that I am not worried about and my DD is now 3 1/2 months old. I do think that if you didn't have any problems before and you have had a rough time this time that its understandable that you are feeling some anxiety. For me, being my DD's food source is can feel like a lot of pressure when I have had supply problems and problems in the past with her being able to transfer milk from me.

I have been lucky to have a GREAT LC that has been so supportive and helped me through a lot, brainstorm and come up with solutions. Do you think it would be helpful to seek a professional opinion from an IBCLC to see if the tongue tie is still a factor? In the midst of the worst of all of this, I told me doctor about all the BFing problems we'd been having and asked my doctor if she thought I had PPD. She thought I had more situational depression, due to the extent of the BFing problems we'd been having and that any mom would feel this way, but to monitor how I feel after things get more resolved. We are still wrapping up some issues, so we'll see ... Things are improving, though.

If I were you, I think I would seek some professional help from someone that can help you with the lactation side of it and see if it makes you feel any better.
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#3 of 3 Old 07-09-2009, 02:03 PM
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I do have a diagnosed anxiety disorder and I've suffered with anxiety from childhood. I think when you are prone to anxiety, anything can become a "phobia" or a source of anxiety. I ocassionally pick up new "anxieties" or "phobias" but since I've had this disorder for so long I am usually very aware when new fear is developing and I can usually fight it off and prevent if from becoming a full blown phobia by using some of the cognitive and relaxation skills I learned in therapy.

When I had my babies they were all difficult nursers due to poor latch, reflux and other issues and I definitely developed a "fear" or "anxiety" about feeding them. I remember when they were sleeping I would begin to get tense when feeding time was approaching. I think even non-anxious women would have some anxiety about feeding a baby who doesn't nurse well, so it makes sense that an anxious mom would certainly experience anxiety about feeding when nursing is going well. Part of anxiety is the fear of being out of control, and you are certainly out of control when you can't get your infant to eat well. What you are feeling is very natural and I think when you get the feeding issues worked out your anxiety will subside. I had to resort to pumping and bottle/spoon feeding my babies which was hard but the anxiety subsided dramatically once I knew they were going to eat. I'm not suggesting you do that, but only wanted to let you know that your anxiety will probably subside once you find the help you need to get your baby nursing better, or find an alternative to nursing, or accept that nursing is not going to be easy but the baby is getting enough and is growing well anyway. You're just worried about your baby, as any mom would be, and once you know the baby is going to be fine, you will be too.
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