Is it safe to take antidepressants while breastfeeding?

breastfed newborn

There are several posts on this site about mental health and anxiety for new moms because this is a subject that impacts so many of us.

But we haven’t discussed a part of mental health that is unfortunately more taboo in our society: Antidepressant use. Since I want to focus on one of the more common antidepressants, I’ll focus mostly on Zoloft and breastfeeding.

I’ll be honest, I’m a little nervous to be talking about my own journey with antidepressant use for all the internet to see. But I know that when I was grappling with starting to use one, I would have liked to find an article like this. Plus, the stigma won’t go away if we don’t start to open up. So I’ll start with me.


Nursing aversion (Or when breastfeeding isn’t magical)

So you may not even be able to tell in this picture, but General Leia is nursing here.  In fact, it’s a picture of the last time my oldest ever nursed.

This was a hard time for me (and for her).  I became pregnant with her sister when she was about thirteen or fourteen months old.  At first, I had no problem with continuing to nurse her while pregnant. In fact, that was easier because it kept her still, and I didn’t have the energy to chase her!

And then came nursing aversion.

Eventually, things changed though.  I started feeling really annoyed almost every time General Leia wanted to nurse.  I was determined to “power through,” though, because I knew breastfeeding until at least two is recommended by the World Health Organization and I knew it was good for her development.  I even continued nursing her after her sister was born.  Ideally, I wanted to let her nurse as long as she wanted and then to let her wean on her own.

little girl nursing

The negative feelings continued though.  Almost every time General Leia nursed, it made my skin crawl.  Seriously, it felt weird and gross and creepy.  But not with Bella Bean, though!  I had no problem nursing my infant, only my toddler.

How it felt to have nursing aversion

Nursing Leia didn’t hurt.  In fact, at the time I wished it did hurt.  Hurt I could deal with.  Pain I could handle.  But this intense feeling of annoyance, even rage, was something I couldn’t battle. Continue Reading