I took antidepressants when I was breastfeeding. AND when I was pregnant.

Over the past week or so, the UK press has given extensive coverage to the tragic deaths of new mother Charlotte Bevan and her four day old baby daughter, Zaani Tiana.

If you are not familiar with the story, 30 year old Charlotte, who allegedly had a history of depression and schizophrenia, walked out of her local maternity hospital with her baby daughter, and committed suicide with her daughter at local beauty spot Avon Gorge in Bristol. The press has since reported that Charlotte had been in touch with social workers throughout her pregnancy, and that she may have been frightened that her baby would be taken away from her. It has also been reported that Charlotte stopped taking her medication so that she would be able to breastfeed her daughter.

Charlotte Bevan
Charlotte Bevan

Quite rightly, the NHS is now launching an investigation to look into how the new mother was allowed to leave her maternity ward. The press are being particularly vocal in their call for new mothers, particularly those with a history of mental health illness, to be much more closely monitored in hospital.

Yet there is one aspect to this tragic story that is not being discussed, despite the fact that it is an aspect that I believe would have significantly reduced the risk of Charlotte and her daughter coming to harm. An aspect that is based on myths and unsubstantiated claims and which, as a result, is causing extreme heartache and suffering to many new mothers and their families.

And it’s this: “Charlotte stopped taking her medication so that she would be able to breastfeed her daughter.”

According to media reports, Charlotte Bevan used to be on anti depressant medication to treat her depression. I don’t know if she was still on anti depressant medication during pregnancy. However, allegedly, she stopped taking her medication because she thought that there would be risks to the baby if she took anti-depressants if she was breastfeeding.

And here’s the rub. In fact, here is the bit that makes me want to climb inside the internet and scream and shout at new or expectant mothers who are googling and reading pages of ill-advised advice about the risks of taking anti depressants and breastfeeding:

YOU CAN TAKE ANTI DEPRESSANTS WHEN YOU ARE BREASTFEEDING.

That’s right. You CAN take anti depressants when you are breastfeeding.

I know, because I just did it.

And guess what? It turns out me and my baby are fine.

A bit of a back story about me. I had severe post natal depression following the birth of my first baby, who was born with a heart abnormality. During pregnancy number two, anxiety hit me like a tonne of bricks – I suffered from acute anxiety, agorophobia and panic attacks from week eight until the day I gave birth. And beyond. Well beyond. In fact, I’m still taking (a lot of) medication now. And I was admitted to psychiatric hospital too. So I was really really unwell.

Both my GP and psychologist recommended to me at that eight week mark to go on to anti depressant medication. And did I? No. Because I’d read all the scare stories about taking anti depressants when pregnant and was terrified of harming my baby.

So I got more unwell.

And then a bit more unwell. So unwell that I recall having to lie in a darkened room because my entire body was shaking. My heart was hammering and I was literally gasping for air, paralysed to the spot. This particular anxiety attack had me in its grip for over four hours.

That night, I made a choice. I chose to go to my doctor the next day and asked to be referred to a psychiatrist, so I could be prescribed anti depressants and have my illness properly managed. I knew that I had another six months of pregnancy to get through. I had a job to go to. A house to run. And a young son to look after. Staying in bed for six months was not an option.

I did go on medication, and I stayed on it throughout pregnancy. It didn’t cure me, but it certainly made me able to function on a daily basis.

I was lucky that my psychiatrist specialises in perinatal anxiety and depression. I had expert monitoring throughout my pregnancy, and, when I gave birth and decided to breastfeed, guess what my psychiatrist did? She put me on ANOTHER anti depressant. So I was (and still am) taking TWO anti depressants (I didn’t even know this was a thing!). And I breastfed my baby boy until he was six months old. He is now 12 months old, walking, almost talking, getting in to mischief and is quite evidently undamaged by my choice to take medication.

But here’s the uncomfortable truth – I can’t say for sure is that we would have remained undamaged if I hadn’t taken medication.

Because I know why Charlotte Bevan did what she did. I understand what she was feeling, because I have had those same feelings throughout this wretched illness. I had my suicide plan well thought out. But I didn’t go through with it, because the medication helped me to cling on to life by my fingertips, even though every fibre of my being was willing me to let go so that it could all be over with.

I’m not a doctor, but here is what I do know:

1. My psychiatrist, who is a specialist in perinatal mental health, prescribes anti depressants to pregnant women and new mothers every single day.

2. Obviously, no one is willing to test medication on pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. So, to cover themselves, pharmaceutical companies say that their medicines ‘are not advised for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers’ – even if the products would actually be safe.

3. In the mother and baby unit of the hospital where I was staying, almost all of the new mothers were on medication and breastfeeding. And all the babies have turned out fine. 

When I read about Charlotte Bevan, I want to know who told her to stop taking her medication. I want to know, because it was irresponsible advice that arguably led to her death. I have met too many mothers who were advised, wrongly, to come off their anti depressant medication when they were pregnant, and they’ve all had awful outcomes (helloooo psychiatric ward). GPs and other so called ‘specialists’ who are erring on the side of caution are costing lives.

Of course, there can be risks to all medications. I get that. But, if the mother ship isn’t functioning, there’s no hope for the baby. We’re talking about unsubstantiated risks, scant ‘evidence’, and rumours versus a mother, or, in Charlotte’s case, a mother and child, no longer being here.

Which is why, somewhere on the internet, this post needs to exist. If just one mother reads this, and, as a result, changes her mind about stopping her medication, it has been worth writing. So please, if you are still reading, PLEASE share this post. Let’s make this post appear in the google search rankings so that mums can understand that there is another side to this story.

Finally, if you are reading this post and are worried about taking anti depressants during pregnancy or when breastfeeding, please, PLEASE talk to your doctor. And if your doctor tells you to stop taking your anti depressant medication, then find a new doctor who knows what they are talking about. Your baby needs you to be well.

You need you to be well.

Pre and post natal anxiety and depression is a cruel, hideous journey, but medication can help to make the journey a little easier.

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53 thoughts on “I took antidepressants when I was breastfeeding. AND when I was pregnant.

  1. Thank you!
    I’m on day 2 of taking antidepressants and I’m also breastfeeding. My baby just turned 10months. I waited far too long too reach out for help because I wanted to continue feeding, because the thought of not being able to nourish my baby with my breastmilk made me MORE anxious and depressed!! :/
    But yes you absolutely can take certain meds while pregnant or feeding! I am excited for my recovery!

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  2. I, too, took antidepressants when pregnant and nursing. In fact, before I became pregnant I researched antidepressants, found that sertraline (Zoloft) had the lowest serum levels in breast milk and neglible levels in breast-feeding infants, so under my doctor’s supervision I changed antidepressants in preparation for eventual pregnancy and breastfeeding.

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      1. I find it amazing that so many people assume it is contraindicated to take psychotropic medication when pregnant and nursing. The risks must be weighed against the benefits and the risks vary depending on the medication.

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    1. I stopped my meds as advised by a Dr during pregnancy.
      Thankfully i know myself and my illness well enough to know when the time had come..i was spiralling and needed my meds back in my system.
      my baby was 10 days old when i made the heart wrenching decisision to stop breastfeeding (because i knew i needed my meds).
      i convinced myself id done my best for my baby by feeding her those first ten days.
      i wanted to continue feeding but was advised repeatedly of the risks of my meds getting into my babys system.
      so i put her on the bottle.
      Thankfully the spiral slowed down and i began to feel less tearful and anxious as my medication started to do their job.
      The place at the mother n baby unit that my Drs had on standby for us was thankfully not needed.
      I was adament my babys life wasnt begining on a pshyc ward.But i also have my safe ppl around me whom i know and trust would tell me if they thought i was slipping. the original poster says…if the mother ship sinks…..
      I say “if the captain of the ship (thas me) goes down..what happens to the ship ?
      It sinks.
      Forever thankful of the knowledge and support of a gd medical team .
      My Daughters 7 now and seems totally unafected by my illness.

      It breaks my heart thinking Charlotte didnt have the expert support she should have had.
      she must have felt so lonely 😦

      Your right in that the truth needs to be shared.
      Mental health can be hard enough at the best of times but multiplied during pregnancy and childbirth.

      when most other new mums are filled with happiness ,glowing ,cant wait to get home with their babys..other mums are struggling silently.Their own heads torturing them with intrusive recurrent thoughts of guilt,failiure,disconnection and much much more 😦

      Many ppl are blissfully unaware of these ladys struggles.
      as their invisible to the human eye.

      only those who have prev struggled or lived with somone who has, and highly trained pshych Drs really know how difficult and de morilising it can being a mum with mental health problems.

      I have Bi polar.
      No one with a serious mental health condition should be advised to stop their meds …without specialist support and alternatives put in place.
      No matter what.
      its dangerous to stop taking meds like these suddenly.
      Causing serotonin and dopemine levels to plumet way to fast and way to low.

      my love goes out to Charlotte,her family and their little angel zanni.
      XXX

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  3. I was told to come off of my medication at 5 weeks pregnant and as a result struggled through my pregnancy and became very ill indeed since birth. Please please please people get some good advice. My heart breaks for Charlotte Bevan as there but for the grace of God go I.
    Thanks for this post ourhayley

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  4. It’s so hard. There are some anti depressants that they would prefer you to be on if you absolutely had to, but none of those are right for me. Do I just continue and push for a type that’s very much not recommended just so it suits me, or leave it? There’s too many people saying different things!

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  5. Thank you so much for posting. I have just been through a severe depressive episode, and requested talking therapies because I was trying for a baby. At no point did my GP or counsellor tell me that I could be pregnant and on anti-depressants: I was advised to choose, which is not an option for me (the root of the problem was a recent miscarriage after years of trying, and my advancing age). I am still coping with moderate depression on my own, having exhausted my allocated 8hrs of counselling. Fortunately I’m not too bad, but I can easily see how the situation would spiral.

    My experience of pregnancy is the vast volume of conflicting information: you must work out daily while simultaneously resting, you must eat fish for the oils and not eat it because of the mercury, all food has caffeine and listeria and sugar and everything else in it, your baby will be disabled because you are always too fat and too old, everything is YOUR fault. When I miscarried it was because I had travelled, it was because I had eaten out and they might have put egg or brie in my food, it was because I measured my coffee with a rounded teaspoon, it was because I had walked to work, it was because my BMI was 30.1. If expectant and new mothers were given a shred of respect and encouragement and consistent advice instead of being constantly guilt-tripped, maybe we wouldn’t be terrified of doing everything wrong and having our kids taken off us.

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    1. Hi Sharon – thanks for your comments. As I said, I’m not a doctor, but I would encourage anyone taking medication to seek advice before going off it. My psychiatrist told me that it’s a case of balancing risk, as in what’s riskier to the baby – medication or a mother who is/could be very unwell mentally? The answer won’t be the same for everyone, but I just wanted women in similar situations to mine to know that there’s another side to this argument. I appreciate your honest thoughts 🙂

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  6. How do you know she was advised to give her medication up? People do actually decide to stop taking medication themselves and that is their choice, however if they aren’t making a sound judgement it may be deemed necessary to state this. Also she had depression and schizophrenia a lot of you are only fixing on the depression side of it. I am absolutely sure that medication for schizophrenia must be more toxic to a baby than antidepressants but that sort of specific medical info won’t be released. The point here is that a, did they know she d stopped the meds and if they did know, why wasn’t she watched more closely. She obviously started to feel some pressure of some sort, either from them, being watched by psychiatry or social services, that something wasn’t going to work out and as a consequence felt pushed into a corner she didn’t want to be in. Don’t just make this about depression. It’s much more complex than that.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Bek. You’re right, I don’t know for sure that Charlotte was advised to stop taking her medication, I’m just going on press reports, which as we all know are not always reliable. When I referred to ‘who’ advised her, I was actually including ‘the internet’ in that – i.e. did she stop because of something she had read? And in terms of medication for schizophrenia, actually, it’s similar to anti depressant medication – not much evidence either way. In fact, certainly, in atypical antipsychotic drugs, such as Olanzapine, there’s no evidence to suggest that this affects the baby during breastfeeding (I was on Olanzipine for a while as well).

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  7. This makes me mad as I was made by doctors to stop breastfeeding when my baby was 7 months old because I was put on antidepressants for (what they decided was) PND. Were my doctors just misinformed about the risks ? Maybe Charlotte Bevans doctors had already told her that she could not breastfeeding dye to her medication? X

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  8. Thank you for this article. I am interested as to why the doctor suggested taking anti depressants at 8 weeks pregnant and not before? I have been on anti depressants for some time and am trying to decide whether to stay on them or not if I become pregnant. I have spoken to the doctor and am none the wiser!

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    1. Hi Bobbii – it was simply because I felt perfectly fine until the eighth week of pregnancy. I did take medication for PND following my first pregnancy but had been off them for a good year and a half when I got pregnant with baby number 2.

      As I said, I’m not a doctor, but I did think it was necessary to have the ‘other side’ of the argument out there because there are a LOT of scare stories about taking medication when pregnant or breastfeeding. Sometimes it just helps to know that someone else has gone through it and it has turned out okay. 🙂

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  9. I discovered this ‘blog’ today and would like to thank you Hayley for speaking out and doing something to correct these mis-conceptions. It is wonderful that you are able to use your experience to help others.

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  10. I came off antidepressants to conceive, and ended up back on them by 16 weeks pregnant, I’m still taking them, because I function better as a parent this way. My now 2 year old, breastfed for 16 months, and is a wonderfully typical 2 year old boy.

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  11. I too took a low dosage of fluoxetine while pregnant with my second having tried ‘cold turkey’ until 20 weeks and found myself rocking in the corners constantly crying again. Docs ssaid my anxieties and depression was not good for baby and the meds wouldn’t hurt. We had to stay in hospital for 72hours after birth to ensure he/she had no withdrawal symptoms but he passed the tests just fine and we came home. I didn’t breast feed him because I had really struggled feeding my first and used the meds as my excuse so they upped the dose as soon as he was born. They were fine with it at hospital. I got lots of care and check ups and cannot fault the NHS atall for their care of us both. This story just made me feel for her because she was obviously not cared for properly xx

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  12. This is a great post, and worth sharing. I too took a range or antidepressant medication during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Took a bit of fighting, but I got great care.

    On the specifics of the recent sad case, however, I think the press have got their wires crossed. While antidepressants are routinely continued during bf, Antipsychotic medication, (that will have been prescribed for schizophrenia) is not so easy to continue when breastfeeding, especially if you require a higher dose. Stopping may have been her only choice if she wanted to bf. It is also very likely that abruptly stopping would have triggered a sudden relapse of her previous symptoms such as hearing voices, which is a highly dangerous situation for anyone to be in. Add the depression, exhaustion and overwhelming feelings of being a new mum, and this terribly sad ending does seem like it could have been predicted.
    The inquest will hopefully shed more light on these important issues, but I do think this was more complex than the press are letting us see.

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  13. Thanks so much for this article. I had severe postnatal depression following the birth of my first child seven years ago. It was a terrible time, and I believe antidepressants saved my life as I was suicidal for a period if three months. Thankfully, I had a very supportive husband and family who helped me to look after my baby until I was well again. However, when I was pregnant with my second child I too came off the drugs believing it would harm my child during the pregnancy. I managed well through the pregnancy but following the birth I again began to feel the terrible weight if anxiety and went through a dark time briefly until the medication kicked in again. I wish I had been better advised and had read your article at the time. Will share this so other people are aware!

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  14. I took antidepressants while breast feeding there is plenty out there that can be taken while bf. Why wasn’t this poor girl pointed in the right direction with information, and also when I was in hospital after having my 3 children they had security tags. So. Couldn’t leave the award. Did this hospital mot have that policy?

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  15. Over 32 years ago I conceived and breast fed my baby fully for 6 months before introducing solids and I went on to have 2 more children ( still on antidepressants) All 3 children are fine, one is a diplomat,one a senior Radiographer and the youngest 26 has his own very successful business. I am still on medication to this day and without it and the GPs support etc I don’t know where i would be. I feel that today we read too much on the internet when we should be listening to our bodies and enjoy nurturing our children

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  16. People are focusing on the depression element of Charlotte’s diagnosis, however if everyone with depression who got pregnant required social worker input throughout pregnancy there would be a social work crisis. This indicates that the schizophrenia or psychosis element of her mental health was the most significant factor. The media will have swung focus to the depression because people more readily understand and empathise with depression and post natal depression. What people dont have empathy for is schizophrenia, psychosis and post natal psychosis, most people don’t know post partum psychosis exists, yet it is rapid, aggressive and as we have seen, dangerous.
    Many antidepressants are safe for use in pregnancy and breastfeeding, the same cannot be said for antipsychotics. Lithium, clozapine, olanzapine, haloperidol, respiridone, flupenthixol, zuclopentixol, chlorpromazine, amisulpiride, aripiprazole, to name but a few are all drugs which help manage the symptoms of schizophrenia. Some of these drugs are toxic and could seriously harm an infant. The fear with these drugs is that if you are prescribed them and stop taking them you’re then at risk of being sectioned, that’s Without pregnancy or breastfeeding being involved. The fact is we know nothing about Charlotte or her circumstances, it’s purely speculation, but for people like myself who work in mental health; the general feeling is this is probably not a depression or antidepressants related incident.
    The fact is medical advice starts from when a woman conceives and is there to promote informed choice.
    My personal opinion is that lately the war of “breast is best” is starting to stigmatise those who can’t breastfeed for real reasons, that there is a massive overshare of unsubstantiated “advice”, given weight through trend rather than reason. Mental health problems are as varied and common as physical illnesses but unfortunately people are selective about which of these illnesses deserve public support and sympathy.

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  17. I am so glad that I found this article. When I had my first I was told to come off all my medication for pregnancy & breastfeeding. We are now planning number two & the thought of coming off my medication in order to have a baby is sending me into an even worse place. I will be talking to my GP about this. I am on sertraline anyway so hopefully that won’t cause any issues. Thank you again.

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  18. I also took anti depressants when pregnant and breast feeding and I was appalled when i read about Charlotte’s story. I think it should also be more publicized about the hormone roller coaster women go on after birth. I felt great for the first 3 days on top of the world and really wouldn’t have minded coming off the medication luckily my doctors insisted i keep taking it. On the 4th day the hormones crashed and i felt miserable utterly terrible. by that time i was home and feeling the strain of having a little one and had to go back to hospital to relax because at home i couldn’t. Baby is 20 months now and the most loveable bouncy toddler you ever met he is always laughing. I am so glad i stayed on the medication. But i do think “Baby-Blues” is the most misnamed condition ever as it in no way prepares you the the deep chasm of despair that I experienced.

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  19. I had severe post natal depression and had to stop breastfeeding because the only medication that worked for me was unsuitable for breast feeding mothers. I was put on Olanzapine by a psychologist specialising in post natal depression whilst as an inpatient in a mum and baby unit. Until you know charlottes medical history you cannot pass judgement on whether a mum can breastfeed on medication. I know you can breastfeed on citalopram and Sertaline, amongst others but neither of those medications worked for me, and may be they didn’t work for Charlotte. Just saying I wish people wouldn’t judge without all the facts, and unless you were involved in charlottes care you don’t have all the facts

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    1. Hi Lisa – thanks so much for your comment. I certainly apologise if I came across as judgemental in my post – that certainly wasn’t the case. The point I was hoping to make was that there are so many scare stories on the internet about taking medication when breastfeeding that many mothers are deterred from doing so (as these comments suggest). I felt it was important to get that message out there that actually it CAN be safe and that women need to seek medical advice.

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  20. Thankyou for your words. They are important.

    I too took anti-depressants while pregnant and breast-feeding. The result for me made it possible to live, to do the many daily things required of me, it made me want to make life better, instead of giving up. Thankfully my doctor and midwives at the time were lovely and advised me to stay on them.

    Expectant and new mothers out there need so much support and understanding, and a whole lot less judgement. They are doing an extremely challenging job and need as much support as possible.

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  21. Such a good post, I hope this reassures some people. I think it’s also important that mums know breastfeed isn’t the most important thing in the world and if important medication isn’t compatible with it then it’s ok to bottle feed to protect the mothers health. Breast feeding has its benefits but they are often overstated and a healthy mummy is far more important.

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  22. Thank you so much for sharing this. Me and my husband are thinking about starting a family, but I was really concerned about the idea of having to come off my antidepressants as I am scared about how I would manage my depression – I feel much better about going ahead with it now and staying on my meds x x

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  23. Thank you for this – my second daughter is now 5 weeks old I’ve been struggling with severe PND. I had it for about a year after my first daughter was born and I refused to take anti-depressants because I was breastfeeding. I WISH SO MUCH THAT I HAD. This time round I felt the same and refused the meds in the hope that I would get over the hormones quickly. I threw everything at it – booked myself psychotherapy, started an online mindfulness course, and solicited help from everyone from the local Children’s Centre to the health visitors and GP. Happily I now seem to be stable without the meds, thanks especially to the psychotherapy and mindfulness – however, I can’t get that year back when I was an anxious wreck with my first daughter. I can’t rewind and make my emotional health better during my second pregnancy. Pregnant women are bombarded with messages about protecting the physical health of their unborn children, sadly driving many like me to anxiety and fear, which is likely to be just as damaging in different ways. I can’t go back time and tell myself that I need to prioritise my emotional well-being as much as the physical well-being of my children, but I’m happy to see that the conversation is being had for the benefit of other women, sadly only following the tragedy in Bristol. I think mindfulness should be prescribed for all pregnant women! In all seriousness. Well-being in pregnancy massively reduces the incidence of PND. And if that doesn’t work, then yes, definitely the meds are on the table.

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  24. I had a very traumatic birth with my son and a very difficult pregnancy I felt very alone and stressed before as we had moved to a different part of the country. There is not enough support.

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  25. I had a very traumatic birth with my son and a very difficult pregnancy I felt very alone and stressed before as we had moved to a different part of the country. There is not enough support. I was never offered anti depressants.

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  26. While I agree you can take some anti depressants when breastfeeding it is not all of them. I did take them myself but I think we need to be mindful that we don’t know anti depressants this poor woman was on and if they were safe when breastfeeding.

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  27. Thank you for writing this. I am sorry to report that a completely VITAL resource is in danger of being lost. The Drugs In Breastmilk helpline as run by the Breastfeeding Network, has lost its funding and is in danger of being closed. It is in dire need of more people to help run it and answer calls, not less, due to funding cuts. This is a resource that is particularly helpful for healthcare professionals to consult to make sure they are prescribing appropriate medication for mothers who are breastfeeding.

    The number to call is 0844 412 4665.

    If you want to help with the funding crisis, you can text a donation by texting DIBM88 and the amount you wish to donate to 70070 eg DIBM88 £3 to 70070.

    Thank you.

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  28. It might be that nobody told her to come off the medication but her own anxieties led her to stop taking them. As a midwife, I speak to women every single day who are worried about taking medication – not just antidepressants (although for obvious reasons, these seem to cause the most maternal angst) but antibiotics, painkillers (even paracetamol), anything. It might be that nobody knew she had stopped taking her medication until it was too late. GPs will always weigh up the risk/harm balance when prescribing any medication but it doesn’t mean that the person being prescribed it will understand or agree.

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  29. Hi. I was told to stop taking my antidepressant by my midwife as it might give my baby a hole in the heart. This was on baby number four after I finally had been diagnosed with depression after my third child. I have actually been depressed for years after having my first child at a young age. I am now really struggling to get back on my antidepressants as I get really sick and have anxiety attacks when I first start taking them. I really wish I hadn’t stopped taking them as they literally saved my life. I will get back to who I was it’s just doing it slowly. I like that you are trying to make more awareness. I wish I had of asked more questions.

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  30. Its very important you look to stay informed about such things and I’d support you doing that.

    As a friend of a friend of charlottes, and as a mental health social worker, I think there has been some misreporting here. I’m pretty sure it was anti-psychotics not anti-depressants she was taking. I know off the top of my head 2 anti-psychotics that cause issues in lactating, not putting safeguards in or even sectioning her seems like a serious error of judgement. Talking to a friend who saw her recently I’m hearing classic schizoaffective disorder in fairly elevated phase that turned into post partum psychosis. It is more high risk category stuff than straight depression, so I would urge a little calm.

    And yes, don’t stop taking the anti-depressants without consulting a doctor, and I’m sure most if not all are fine.

    I still dislike the level of usage of anti-depressants in our country rather than facing the structural issues of isolation. Psychologically speaking women should be giving birth surrounded by other women as done throughout history and we should be more supportive and inclusive of young mothers. Those are some big arguments, but in truth, I don’t think any professional would suggest stopping taking anti-depressants in order to breastfeed.

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  31. An amazing post. I stopped my medication just before the birth of my first child. I struggled mentally in the early days. I gave up breast feeding as I was so stressed . By the timeshe was a year I was back in them due to the pressure I was putting on myself. I had everything I wanted but I felt empty. Anti depressants and a course of CBT really helped me – massively helped me.
    Today as I feed my two week old son, I remain on my antidepressants, I have chosen to bottle feed to help my mental health and ima happy mummy enjoying these early days. My daughter who is three and a half is a joy to me daily. I fear I would have struggled had I not got help when I needed it.
    Thankyou for your post. I hope it helps many more mums seek help where it’s needed.
    And keep going Hayley. You’re precious beyond belief and are worth far more than rubies. You’re an amazing mum!!! Xxx

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  32. Just to add for those who may worry about the long term effects. My mother breast fed me while taking anti-depressants. I like to think I am realitively normal and now have two beautiful daughters of my own. Getting help if you need it is never a failing either, quite the reverse, anything that helps you to become the best mum you can be is always a good thing.

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  33. This is an excellent, comprehensive source on medications during breastfeeding. I have heard Dr Hale speak–he is truly amazing and compassionate and knowledgable and has made it his life’s work to make sure women are not denied the medications they need. He has a deep understanding of both the importance of breastfeeding and the importance of a healthy mother. It was more than a decade ago that I heard him talk about how the mental health of the mother was an imporant consideration when deciding whether anti-depressants should be prescribed. That a depressed mother could do more harm to her child than many anti-depressants would (and he was not talking just about suicide, but the impact on a newborn of being cared for by someone who cannot provide effective care) http://www.breastfeedingonline.com/meds.shtml

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  34. I agree with Joe.I have seen the other side.

    I have a rapid-cycling Bipolar friend, who was not told to stop taking her anti psychotics. Result: 2 very disabled children and a marriage that broke under the strain.

    Not much fun being a single mum in this situation. Be very careful of what is posted – opinion does not have to equate to hard fact.

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