The essence of motherhood is self-sacrifice: You carry your babies in your body, sacrificing your own comfort, and sometimes even health, to bring them into this world. For some, the life they've given their child means that they themselves suffer from postpartum depression (PPD), and many delay seeking treatment while they're breastfeeding out of concern for their infant. But while motherhood does require sacrifice, it should never be at the expense of your own mental health. Knowing how to treat postpartum depression while breastfeeding is necessary for you and your baby.
According to Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Jaime Filler, breastfeeding moms all too often avoid talking to their healthcare provider about their postpartum depression out of concern for the potential of harming their baby. "However," Filler tells Romper in an exclusive interview, "treatment for PPD does not always include medication. Many women find that their symptoms can be treated by meeting with a psychotherapist who specializes in maternal mental health. Often the use of cognitive behavioral therapy can be more than sufficient to address a new mom's postpartum depression or anxiety."
Sounds great, right? But what about the headache of actually finding (or affording) childcare while you're attending those much needed therapy sessions? Filler says if the therapist specializes in maternal mental health, your baby should be welcome in the sessions, too.
Of course, for some women, therapy alone will not be enough, and that's absolutely OK. In these cases, Filler says, there are actually PPD medications that can safely be taken while a mother is breastfeeding. How do you know where to start? You can obviously speak with your primary healthcare provider, but Filler recommends seeking out a reproductive psychiatrist, as he or she would have the most current information regarding medications and breastfeeding.
Wherever you decide to start, don't wait around to get help. Remember: It's not just about your baby, it's about you and your ability to lovingly and effectively care for yourself and your little one. You and she both deserve happiness, and it truly is within your reach. Whether that means taking medication while breastfeeding, going to therapy sessions, or trying a different way of feeding your baby is up to you — your health matters.