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Can you breastfeed when taking depression and anxiety medication?

In Features, Mind Health, Motherhood, Pregnancy + Birth, Stories by Nicole Fuge

Navigating the labyrinth of motherhood? Let’s get real about whether you can breastfeed when taking depression and anxiety medication.

By Mama Disrupt®

The ups and downs of motherhood can be a real whirlwind. And guess what? You’re not alone. Depression and anxiety are more common than you might think, and yes, they can even give us mums a bit of a nudge now and then. Now, the burning question on many minds: can you breastfeed when taking depression and anxiety medication?

Here’s the silver lining – most medications for depression and anxiety? They’re pretty breastfeeding-friendly. Most of these meds just pop into the breast milk in teeny tiny amounts, so your little one is likely to be just fine. But like with all things mum and bub-related, always give a shout to your doctor. They can guide you on the meds to take, how to take them, and just check in on how your baby is doing.


depression and anxiety medication and breastfeeding, mama disrupt

Right, let’s dig a little deeper into some of these medications:

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

The popular kids in the antidepressant group. Here’s a heads up on some you might have heard of:

  • Sertraline (think Zoloft)
  • Citalopram (aka Celexa)
  • Fluoxetine (the well-known Prozac)
  • Paroxetine (or Paxil)
Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)

Not the usual go-tos like SSRIs, but they have their moments. A few are:

  • Amitriptyline (also known as Elavil)
  • Imipramine (or Tofranil)
  • Nortriptyline (let’s call it Pamelor)

These are for the anxious and sleepless nights. But hold your horses, they might not be the top pick for breastfeeding mums since they can make your baby a tad sleepy.

Atypical antidepressants

The new kids on the block. Generally, they get the thumbs up for breastfeeding mums, but we could use some more research. Here’s a glance:

  • Venlafaxine (you might know it as Effexor)
  • Bupropion (Wellbutrin in some circles)
  • Mirtazapine (or Remeron)
depression and anxiety medication and breastfeeding, mama disrupt
Breastfeeding while on these meds?

Here are a few things you need to know:

  • Time your med dose – maybe after the last feed of the day.
  • Wait a bit post-med before the next feed.
  • And if your med is a long-acting type, think about which side to breastfeed on.

Also, always be on the lookout for changes in your baby, like being extra sleepy or a bit fussy. If something feels off, give your doctor a ring.

Lastly, a quick heart-to-heart. Breastfeeding, while rewarding, can be a tough journey, especially if you’re wrestling with your own feelings. It’s okay to seek help, whether from a doc, lactation guru, or a therapist. And remember, you’re in good company. Many mums face the same challenges. With the right support and a sprinkle of determination, you’ll get through this chapter with your bub.

Disclaimer: No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical or health advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional. Please refer to our Medical and Health Disclaimer for further information.

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