Post-partum anxiety and medication


A friend wrote me this text this morning:

“I’m thinking seriously about going on Zoloft for postpartum depression/anxiety and was wondering if you have any thoughts/experiences w meds and breastfeeding?”

And I realized that I don’t have a good thread on meds and breastfeeding here on the forum. I wrote another friend, who responded with,

Have you or someone you’ve known gone on meds for post-partum anxiety while breastfeeding? What insight or advice can you share with this new mother?



Check out this website:

It’s an excellent resource for any breastfeeding mom.

I took an SSRI while nursing my child. It was fine. I know many women who did the same. It is safe and fundamentally, while there is a long list /reasons why one should nurse – the mother’s mental health and well being comes first.
I say this, as someone who nursed my kid until he was 3. Yeah, I was that dirty hippie :grimacing:.

There is so much support available for PPD. I’m happy to share my experiences.

Much love and light


I was on Lexapro the entire time I was pregnant and breastfeeding. I personally didn’t have issues. My doctor said if I were his wife, he’d choose for me to stay on the meds during this time. That made the decision for me.

That said, of course, adjusting to a new medication can have its own side effects. New mom should be monitored closely to make sure it’s not making things worse, at least initially.


My friend continues to question. This is a great example of how confusing all of this truly is.


How committed is she to breastfeeding? If she stops now, will it plunge her deeper into depression/anxiety/PPD?

I did a combo of pumping, nursing, and formula bottle feeding that ended up working for my family. I say ended up because it took a LOOOOONG time to get there.

I would say - she needs to consult with a medical professional that she either knows and trusts or that is recommended to her by someone she knows and trusts. Whatever she does re: medication, it needs to be supervised. So that if the medication makes her feel worse, not better, she has someone to reach out to.


Hi there, LactMed and InfantRisk are two resources that have been indispensable to me in my 4 years of breastfeeding! (I’m new so I don’t know that I can post links but they’re easy to find on google and are so helpful!)

In my experience, many medical professionals are pretty uninformed when it comes to lactation in general and often defer to the “abundance of caution” type of advice which can be so frustrating. I was repeatedly advised to pump and dump for what I knew to be no reason at all, or to wean, in order to go on different medication(s) when it’d be even more stressful and inconvenient to do so! All it took was a quick phone call to InfantRisk with my surgeon/doctor in the room and I could nurse on without worry… Each medication and situation has its own risk/benefit analysis to be undertaken of course, but there are also emotional, mental and physical affects of weaning, even if one WANTS to wean, so it should be done gradually. I know I felt a relapse of lots of my symptoms of anxiety/depression/OCD and ptsd (or maybe delayed PPD??) once I weaned my toddler son, even though I wanted to, and even though I was still nursing his baby sister around the clock. My body was used to a certain level of oxytocin etc. that was “patching me up” emotionally without me even realizing it. No one warned me about that possibility!

Hope this will help your friend!


The good news is that it sounds like she has a great support system of trusted pediatrician (she told me her ped said to her, “Baby seems great, but how is mom doing?”), primary care doctor, and psychopharmacologist. She’s in good hands there.


Thank you so much for this totally great, measured, insightful advice @LittleBird – it obviously is hard-won. I am so happy people are sharing their thoughts here as I hope it will help other moms over time. It can be hard to find helpful guidance on these topics, even when you have doctors you’re working with…