Breastfeeding Moms Get Good News About Popular Medicine

breastfeedingBig news for nursing mamas today! A new study has determined that it's okay for breastfeeding mothers to take anti-depressants. The study from the Danish National Birth Cohort in Denmark claims that the health benefits of continued breastfeeding greatly outweigh any perceived risk to the baby from antidepressant medication. The study also concluded that new moms taking antidepressants are more successful at nursing their infants if they stay on the medication as opposed to those who stop out of concern for their babies' health.

Dr. Luke Grzeskowiak, one of the study's authors, feels that breastfeeding, regardless of whether or not a woman is taking medication, is best for both mom and baby. He said, "The amount of antidepressant medication that finds its way into a mother’s breast milk is very low."

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The findings are, of course, incredibly interesting and good news for women with postpartum depression who very much want to nurse. But it's important for mothers to know that, even though this research is promising, it isn't the answer for everyone.

We, as new mothers, have more options than ever now, and that's a good thing. If we have an abundant supply of breast milk and don't have postpartum depression, great! If we don't have an abundant supply of breast milk and our baby's hungry, we can supplement with formula. Or if we do have an abundant supply of breast milk, but are depressed, know we need something, and don't feel comfortable nursing while on antidepressants -- we can give our babies formula. And it's okay. It's more important for a mother to be happy and present than for her to breastfeed. And although this study says it's okay for nursing moms to take prescription drugs daily, not everyone will feel comfortable with that.

Before we become mothers, a lot of us have an image or ideal in our head of how things are going to go; what kind of parent we're going to be to our baby. But between postpartum hormones and infants being, well, infants, it's rare that things go according to plan. We may have planned to nurse for a year, and it didn't work out. Or we may have planned to nurse for a few months, and two and a half years later, we're still doing it. The most important thing for mothers to know, before they even become mothers, is that they have options, and there's no "right" way to do things -- only what's right for them.

The new findings that show that it's okay to nurse while taking antidepressants may be a huge relief to some women. But others should take solace in knowing that there are other options out there for them.

Would you feel comfortable taking antidepressants while breastfeeding?

 

Image via Rick Gomez/Corbis

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