Should This Mom “Tough It Out” With Postpartum Anxiety To Breastfeed Her New Baby?

Okay Warrior Moms, this pregnant mom and postpartum anxiety survivor wants to know whether she should skip treatment for the second time so she can breastfeed her baby. Please share your thoughts via the comment section. 

My second baby is due to arrive fairly soon (scheduled c-section). I had severe postpartum anxiety and moderate postpartum OCD after my child’s birth three years ago even though my first pregnancy was a happy, blissful time and extremely easy.
I haven’t been on any medication during this pregnancy, and it’s been much tougher than the first. I’ve had a lot of anxiety and difficulty sleeping throughout. And there has been a lot of external stress too. We bought a new house and my husband lost his job. Not long after that, we found out I was pregnant. (We wanted a second baby, but I’d immediately declared when he lost his job that we should stop trying. It turns out that I was already pregnant– proving God has a fun sense of humor.) For someone who ls naturally anxious even when I’m on medication, these changes were big triggers for me.
I’ve felt myself getting worse and worse as my due date approached, and I made an appointment with my psychiatrist. When I met with her on Friday, she immediately saw that I was suffering from anxiety and depression. She recommended that I go back on medication immediately after the new baby’s birth to prevent a repeat of the postpartum anxiety and OCD I had last time. But the problem is that the mix of drugs that worked for me last time are not safe for breastfeeding.
After my first child’s birth I took a medication that was considered safe for breastfeeding. It helped me function, but I didn’t start feeling better until I stopped breastfeeding at 3 months and switched to a different medication. It took about a year of working with my psychiatrist to find what worked the best.Now I have to decide if I want to start with the “safe” medication again and attempt to breastfeed this new baby or start with the mix that worked after much trial and error last time even if it means putting the baby on formula immediately. I’m conflicted because I really truly hated breastfeeding last time but also want to do what’s best for the baby. And I’m also not ready to deal with the criticism mothers face for formula-feeding.
Last time, I took off six months from work, so I was able to survive the sleep deprivation and demands of breastfeeding for the first three months even though I hated every moment of it. This time, I’m not able to take off time since I’m running my own business and have clients and other demands, but will have help from my husband and a nanny.
Still I’m not sure I can put the baby on formula from day one even if it’s to take medication that helps me. I live in an area that is dominated by breastfeeding mommies. I got crap last time for quitting breastfeeding and switching to formula at three months, and I’m already hearing judgmental comments from the mommies about how I’m going back to work nearly immediately. These women often say things to me like “I don’t know how you do it” in reference to my work. I feel like they are questioning my ability as a mother when they make “how do you do it” comments because they follow-up by telling me how busy they are being a mom. The implication is that I “do it” by neglecting my responsibilities as a mother.
I’m too polite to tell them that my not-quite 3 year old is quite healthy and happy. Heck…he’s already potty-trained and reading and even says please and thank you consistently and plays so nicely with other kids. He even helps clean-up his toys. And he’s loving and has a great sense of humor. Clearly I’m doing something right.
But I just don’t know if I can deal with the comments and the negativity from just about everyone I know (with the exception of my own parents, mother-in-law and husband) for not breastfeeding at all. At least last time, I was able to say that I stopped breastfeeding due to mastitis, and that shut up most (but not all) of them. But if I never nurse, I’ll face a lot of criticism both behind my back and to my face. I’m not exactly open with people about postpartum anxiety/OCD, and I look happy and healthy to people that know me. They’ll probably speculate that I’m one of those mothers who formula feeds because she’s so career obsessed and wants the nanny to parent her child.
I’m just not sure if I can deal with the hurtful comments, and I don’t want to tell anyone that I’m not breastfeeding because I need medication. Most of all, I’m resentful that moms have to justify formula-feeding and that “breast is best” messaging makes total strangers feel empowered to shoot you dirty looks in the park if you pull out a bottle.
The best thing for me would be to formula-feed and take the more effective medication, but I’m holding a prescription for the “safe” med right now and feel the pressure to “tough it out” for my baby. I know that med will help me function, but I do worry that I’m delaying feeling completely better by not taking the more effective (for me) meds immediately. And I’ve already had a tough time this whole pregnancy because I chose to do it without any medicine since I was too worried about harm to the baby. I’m ready to feel happy again, but I think the constant criticism about formula would be just as harmful to recovery as taking a less-effective medicine.
So how do other moms with postpartum depression justify their decision to formula feed from birth if they do not feel comfortable disclosing that they have a medical reason? I don’t exactly want to share my mental health issues with friends and acquaintances. But would anything else shut them up? Even my friend’s husbands are big breastfeeding advocates and say things like “I’m so glad my wife quit her job as a partner at a major law firm because breastfeeding is such a big accomplishment and sacrifice. Isn’t she so amazing? I wouldn’t want to be with someone who would put their interests above the health and well-being of our baby.” (They haven’t used those exact words, but it’s an accurate summary of the conversation.)
What do you think, ladies?
About Katherine Stone

is the creator of this blog, and the founder and executive director of Postpartum Progress. She has been named a WebMD Health Hero, one of the fiercest women in America by More magazine, and one of the 15 most influential patient advocates to follow. She is a survivor of postpartum OCD.

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Comments

  1. Ignore the crap about the formula. If you are unhappy and stressed and hate breastfeeding, then toughing it out would probably end up having a worse effect. I HAD to formula feed my daughter (now almost 13), and deflected the flack because I told people quite simply, "I am unable to breastfeed" and left it at that. Anything else is nobody's business but mine! Go for the formula and the medication that WORKS. Anything else is half-assed, in my opinion. My daughter is willowy and beautiful and talented, and those months she was on formula didn't do anything bad for her at all.

  2. I had to face this struggle too after my second was born. It's not a fun decision to have to make, espeically with pressures from both sides and needing to feel like the perfect mother by making the perfect decisions for your child.
    In the end, I chose a formula-fed baby, and a life for myself where I didn't have thoughts of harming myself every single night and crying non-stop every single day.
    The decision is yours alone to make.
    I chose my life.

  3. How about seeking donor milk? https://www.facebook.com/hm4hb might be a start.

  4. I breastfeed. And take an antidepressant.
    I was so horrible when I had PPD before meds.

  5. I think that you can possibly do both -Take medication and STILL breastfeed. I am not sure which meds were working for you, and what they desire to put you on (you can email privately if you would like). The *only* medications which are absolutely contraindicated during breastfeeding are chemotherapy drugs. Some medication (ie radioactive dyes) and some in general anesthesia call for waiting a period of time to breastfeed. I have had many patients who have successfully breastfed for as long as they wanted, and have been on meds. They are not exclusive of one another in most cases.
    That said. You can also take Bio-Identical Progesterone to help with PPD. I took it during and after my last pregnancy. I also Rx it for women with PPD and it works wonders.
    Please consider all your options.

  6. You're going to be judged by other moms whether it's boob vs bottle or Robeez vs sneakers. The ONLY thing that matters is creating a world where you can be the best mom possible. If that means formula, then that means formula. I breastfed AND supplemented with formula. If anyone tried to give me flack, they weren't very good friends. Every mother has her own journey. I also didn't start to recover from PPD until I started supplementing. If and when we have a second child, I will either do formula or supplement with formula MUCH sooner.
    I hope and pray that you can treat the PPD possibility as quickly as possible. Sending hugs and support!!!

  7. Is it possible to get a donor milk supply for months?

  8. Absolutely do whatever is necessary for you to feel your absolute best. If that means being on medication and not BF, then so be it. Your primary job right now is to be there for your child and if the way that you can do that to the best of your ability is on medication, then there's your answer.
    I did the BF thing for about 4 weeks and I HATED it. I wanted my body back and I wanted my husband to be able to help. So, baby got formula, I got my body back and we all slept better. I also decided that I was not going to allow others to make me feel guilty for choosing what was best for me and my baby. He is absolutely thriving and I know that is because I made the right choices for both of us.
    Hang in there and best of luck, whatever you decide.

  9. I too so wanted to breastfeed, but the baby stopped after 3 days and we went to formula and that started the PPD. My baby is health and happy with the formula. All that matters is her baby's health and your health. A year later I'm still on Zoloft for the PPD when I start to stress out.

  10. I guess I should add- I would recommend you try to breastfeed and take a breastfeeding safe antidepressant at first and see hwo it goes. If you end up having to switch meds and to formula, because the other meds aren't working, you should do that with confidence. But I think it might put your mind at ease if you try breastfeeding and the breastfeeding safe meds at first. At least you will know you tried. And that being said, each pregnancy/delivery/scenario is different so it could work FINE this time around!! I did not have PPD with my first son. But with my second I had PPD and anxiety after he was born. So all that to say, try different things and do not feel guilty about whatever decision you end up with, because you'll know you are doing what is best for you and your family. 🙂

  11. I thought about donor milk too–it might be a nice compromise if you can find a milk source. That way you can feel that you're doing the best for your baby (by feeding breastmilk) AND the best for yourself (by allowing yourself to be healthy & happy).
    Oh, and tell the nay-sayers to shove it ; )

  12. I think you should take the medication that works and formula feed. Its nobodies business how you feed your baby. If they question you, tell them that you have a medical issue and you have to take certain medication, so you can't brestfeed. If they don't like it, that's their problem. I would NEVER sacrifice my well being for the opinions of others. You have to take care of yourself. Babies survive just fine on formula.

  13. As a momma to three very healthy and happy formula-fed babies, I say a healthy and happy momma is the best thing you can give your baby.

  14. For me, I think the bottom line for my whole family's well being is my own well being. I know I could have done my job better as mother to an infant had I not been depressed… If only I'd known. It wasn't until my youngest was five and depression had spiraled out of control that I realized. And it was that little girl who showed me I needed help when one day at bedtime she said to me, "Mommy, when you're angry, my heart doesn't know who you are.". That said everything to me. Depression hurt her nearly as much as it hurt me. If only she could have spoke that loud and clear wham she was an infant.

  15. For me, I think the bottom line for my whole family’s well being is my own well being. I know I could have done my job better as mother to an infant had I not been depressed… If only I’d known. It wasn’t until my youngest was five and depression had spiraled out of control that I realized. And it was that little girl who showed me I needed help when one day at bedtime she said to me, “Mommy, when you’re angry, my heart doesn’t know who you are.”. That said everything to me. Depression hurt her nearly as much as it hurt me. If only she could have spoke that loud and clear wham she was an infant.

  16. My first suggestion is to make sure that the effective drug regimen is definitely not safe for breastfeeding. The research changes all the time, and far too many doctors and psychiatrists are not up to date on the latest research. You or your care providers can contact the Infant Risk Center at http://www.infantrisk.com/ or call (806)-352-2519 Monday through Friday 8 am – 5 pm CST. This is run by Dr. Thomas Hale, who is the world's foremost expert on medications and mother's milk (he literally wrote the book on it!).
    That said, what your baby needs more than breastmilk is a healthy, engaged, positive, stable, and hopefully happy mother. If you need those medications for that, and you choose to use formula or donor milk to ensure that it can happen, that is the best choice for everyone. I would encourage you to be open and matter-of-fact about this to anyone who speaks negatively about you not breastfeeding; they need to know that there are good reasons to not breastfeed, and that your mental health is important.

  17. "The best thing for me would be to formula-feed and take the more effective medication…"
    It kind of sounds like you've already decided. Ultimately, if that's the best thing for you, then it's the best thing for your baby (and the rest of your family, too). If you were dying to breastfeed and were feeling crushed at the thought of not being able to, I would suggest you look for more options. But what I'm hearing is that you don't want to BF, you want to take the good meds, and you want to feel better sooner rather than later. Your conflict seems to come mostly from the fear of being judged, and while I completely understand, I don't think that should matter as much as it does. I think someone else already said you'll be judged no matter what you do – and it's true.
    I stopped BF after 3 months for many reasons, and I was sad to stop. But I can also tell you that it was the best thing I could have done for myself AND my daughter. It was making us both miserable and keeping us from bonding. Now I have a perfectly healthy, secure, and happy 2-year-old (who, by the way, has never had an ear infection, is rarely sick, and is cognitively right on target).
    Let me also ask – could any of your fear of being judged be coming from your current anxious/depressed state? I know during my PPD/PPA, I had trouble sorting out my feelings and often felt insecure. Perhaps after you take the meds and feel better, you might be able to better cope with the judgements?
    And, to people who have the nerve to comment on your choice of feeding your child, I would say, "This is what we have decided is best for our family." And leave it at that. You should not have to defend yourself.
    I hope you feel more like yourself soon. ((hugs))

  18. Katherine Stone/Post says:

    The most important thing to me is that you are healthy. That you are able to mother your older child and your new baby as you would like — that you are able to be present with them. Whatever it takes to have that seems like it would be the most important priority. Keep talking with your psychiatrist and working together to identify the best possible scenario for you, and please don't let other people's beliefs/judgments make you feel bad. You are worthy and wonderful as a person and a mother whichever decision you make.
    — Katherine

  19. Um…I didn't realize how long that had gotten until I hit "post". Sorry. LOL.

  20. In my experience, the medication that once worked and I stopped taking then went back on didn't work the second time. It could happen to you too and then you might feel guilty about not breastfeeding because of it. I took Zoloft for my son's first year of life and safely breastfed. I say it's worth a try to go with what's safe and try breast feeding because it sounds like you want to breast feed. If it doesn't work, you gave it your best effort and can then switch to formula.

  21. It amazes me how much ENERGY a person can put into what someone else THINKS about them or their decisions…LET IT GO! I have two formula fed babies who have been VERY healthy! Your baby will be just fine. Lost that FEAR OF JUDGEMENT!!!

  22. Breast is best… but not at any cost. You have to take of yourself first, in order to take care of your family. For those that hassle, a gentle "I can't breastfeed for medical reasons" should be enough.

  23. Katherine Stone/Post says:

    It's easy for us to say that, Kris, but I think we have to remember that this mom is currently suffering from depression and anxiety. While it can be easy to rationally let something go when we are well, we all know how difficult it is to be rational or logical when we are in the midst of our illness.
    – Katherine

  24. What's more important? Breastfeeding or sanity? Don't beat yourself up – plenty of people are going to do that for you. I'm all for Breastfeeding – I think it's wonderful! But I'm also all for mom's who aren't basket cases and that can function and not feel like sticking themselves in the dryer on permanent press.
    You do what's right for you and your baby and tell your guilt to go take a hike. You'll have plenty of other occasions to wallow in guilt as your kids get older, I promise.

    • “But I’m also all for mom’s who aren’t basket cases and that can function and not feel like sticking themselves in the dryer on permanent press.”

      Thanks for a good smile and point. I always talk about my basket caseness

  25. Katherine Stone/Post says:

    I think every person is different, and it's not at all necessarily the case that the meds she took before will not work now. Let's be careful not to project our own experiences onto others because the reality is we don't know what will happen.
    — Katherine

  26. I understand, and can relate to, the feelings you're struggling with. When it comes down to it, it doesn't matter what anyone else says or thinks. You have to do what is right for YOU and YOUR baby; not what is right for someone else.
    I was told by my lactation consultant that even a few days of breastmilk helps build immunity. You could always give a few days or a week and then make your final decision. (But if you don't, I think that's ok, too.)
    Remember: there are many healthy and happy children (and adults) out there who were soley formula fed. We all do the best we can in life and that's all that matters.
    Big hugs to you.

  27. I haven't read the above comments…but I will say that I am not even pregnant yet with my third and I am already worried about what to do.
    You need to go with your gut, which is sounding like start with the formula immediately. If people say anything to you, you can say something like, "Choosing what to feed is an intensely personal decision and not one that was made lightly." If they start in on "Breast is Best", you can say, "Usually it is, but sometimes it isn't that easy, and we have made OUR decision as a family."
    Don't let others pressure you into something you don't want to do…you WILL get a healthy, happy kid regardless. Hell, even Michelle Duggar gave her last kid formula when she realized that was what was best for her. And what is best for YOUR kid is to have a healthy, happy, present mom.

  28. Ultimately it's about you being heathy for your baby, and your relationship with your baby…that is the only thing that matters, not what other people think of you or your choices! Be thankful for alternatives (formula, donor milk)…many around the world don't have any.
    I think it's been said, mothers will judge you no matter what you do (why are women so damn unsupportive sometimes??) I appreciate breast feeding awareness, but it is not be all and end all, we place too much pressure on moms!

  29. I agree with Katherine. You need to do what is best for YOU and your child. And if that means formula than you need to do that. Also try and surround yourself with friends that are truly friends, if people are judging you because you are not BF that is ridiculous. That is a PERSONAL choice and should not have to be explained to ANYONE!
    I am wishing you peace and hope that you can find comfort in any decision that you may make. But remember do it for YOU and the baby and your older child not for the "friends". I have found that is easier to please yourself, you will feel better and you make think it selfish but who else is going to do it for you? People can judge all they want but that is easy they are not walking in your shoes. Good Luck.

  30. OH…I really like the response, "I am unable to breastfeed." And if they press it, you could say something like, "I really don't want to talk about it."
    Good luck!!!

  31. This kind of thing drives me nuts. It isn't anyone's business whether you breastfeed or not, or what your reasons are for making a decision one way or the other. People who ask about that kind of stuff don't deserve a response. I know because I've been there. Do what YOU need to do during the postpartum period and try as hard as you can to let go of the guilt. I know it's difficult, but you know what the right answer is – at least it seems that way from your writing. Tell everyone else to stuff it and do what will work best for your family. Good luck!

  32. I wish you had a better group of women to hang out with. In my experience, mommies who judge feel guilty about something else and think that making digs at others makes them a better person. To not be your best self for your children is wrong and if that means formula feeding, there is nothing wrong with that. I am writing this as I feed my almost 1 month old a bottle of formula while sitting next to my 2 year old who formula fed too. My PPD and anxiety issues far outweigh what society sees as the trend for the moment. For me, medication and my sanity are important and my children are bright, loving, well developed little boogers because of it. Do what is best for you and your family and know that you are amazing for it.

  33. Oh man, this is so hard. I'm so sorry you're in this spot. I know it's causing you a lot of stress & that fear of judgment is all too real. I've been there, too.
    I won't go into my own experience, we're all different. But I'll offer my thoughts. It sounds like you had a really bad breastfeeding experience the first time around. And I think, given your current emotional state, it might add some unnecessary extra stress and anxiety. That's definitely something to consider.
    Another thing to consider is your older little munchkin. What will help you be the best mommy to both of your kiddos? If it's the medication that isn't safe for breastfeeding, then I say choose the medication. Breastfeeding is best for infant nutrition, we all know that (and I was reminded of it every time I fed my child formula in public). But being a fully-present, engaged, happier & less-anxious mommy is best for everyone in the house.
    The choice is yours to make. Consider not only your new babe, but yourself and others in your growing family. And know that whatever you choose, all of us here are 100% in support of your decision. 🙂 You got this, mama. *fistbump*

  34. From what I'm reading here, I get the strong sense that you DON'T WANT TO BREASTFEED. That the only reason that you would breastfeed is to escape criticism from people who think you should breastfeed. I so understand wanting to dodge anything that would make you feel lousy socially with anxiety and depression in the mix, but which will make you feel lousier? Doing something that you HATE just to escape judgement or doing something that isn't waht you want just to make people who aren't essential to your life stay off your back?
    If I'm reading this wrong another idea might be to contact a lactation consultant–a really good one (call a La Leche league and they can help you find someone) and present your dilemma. As others have mentioned they may be able to find a way to help you do BOTH. It might me a matter of not breastfeeding when the drug is at it's time of peak effect.
    Most of all I encourage you to follow YOUR heart here. You know what will make YOU feel best about yourself and your baby. As hard as it is to ignore the naysayers when we'er not feeling our best, I think in the end you'll feel better and stronger for making a choice that is right for YOU.

  35. My advice would be to go with what works, take the medications that worked for you the first time. Not only have they been proven, you will also mentally expect them to work better and that will probably help to lessen your anxiety. When I noticed PPD coming on with my second child, I felt secure knowing I had a medication I could take (took months to find the right one the first time around) that would work. It helped me to know that I was doing what I could to get well. I think a happy mommy makes the best mommy. I second what Gail said, how about saying "I am unable to breastfeed" . And if someone looks at you strange at the park, know in your heart that you are a better and happy mommy for your children.
    Whatever you decide, WE are all here for you, supporting you in that decision. PPD is an unwelcome visitor and it changes the rules about everything.
    **Also want to note that although I had it with my son from the first day, I didn't have the PPD, PPA with my daughter until many months down the road – so there's always a chance that you won't have it at all this time around. Perhaps you have the meds handy and use them at the first sign of trouble. Bless you mommy!!

  36. Amber @Beyond Postpa says:

    We definitely have more in common than we don't based upon what you've written about above. Like you, I am pregnant with #2 after surviving PPD/PPA and now have a 3 yo son, as well. I am facing the same decisions that you are with a baby who is set to arrive in just 7 weeks. While I haven't suffered from full-fledged antepartum depression and anxiety during this pregnancy, I have certainly struggled for a few weeks here and there and have had a lot of external stressors like a house renovation, deaths of loved ones and some marital/parenting issues that have creeped up.
    I am nervous about the postpartum period, but also feel as if I have positioned myself better for a variety of reasons. One of them is that I've continued to see a therapist and a psychiatrist (though I am not on medication currently) throughout my pregnancy. I am also planning for help from a night nurse and postpartum doula this time. I plan to do a combination of prophylactic meds and "wait and see" this time around, immediately after birth. I will be giving both BFing (which was not a good/successful experience for me round 1) and a single med a try initially. However, I am totally ready to toss in the BFing towel if either a) similar BFing struggles strike again and/or b) my symptoms creep up/persist despite my initial efforts. In either case, I will happily mix a bottle of formula and take the meds that saved my life last time…no regrets. Trust me, this decision was not as easy to make as it sounds by just reading it here in type, but through time and prayer I have come to terms with it…and now even feel good about it!
    Best wishes to you in making choices (about which I hope you know you can later change your mind, if needed) that you will feel confident implementing…and know this…whatever you do, you are doing with love based upon the best way you know to parent this precious baby.
    (Feel free to contact me if you'd like to talk further, as well.)
    Blessings,
    Amber

  37. Don't justify it… just tell them, 'Look, my husband and I weighed it all & decided this is in the best interest of the entire family, especially our children, for reasons that really aren't any of your business.' And if they don't shut up, walk away.
    Also, if you want to get the baby some breastmilk at the start, perhaps you could find a donor in your area.
    Do what you know to be the best choice for you… because staying healthy for your children is more important than breastmilk…and that's from a breastfeeding mom. There will always be haters, sadly 🙁

  38. What's best for your baby is a happy, healthy mom. If you didn't have a good experience anyway, plus suffered with PPD/A, PLUS have some serious stressors in your life – do whatever it takes to make your self-care a priority. Perfectly healthy, loved, bonded babies are raised on formula all the time (including my 3 girls, as I had similar issues to you). Tell anyone else who criticizes that THEY can breastfeed your baby if it's that important to them. There is SOOOOOO much more to motherhood than nursing, and the Judgy McJudgersons need to keep their opinions to themselves when it somes to such personal issues as mental health and infant care.
    Best wishes to you and your little one – listen to your heart and your gut. Mothers' instinct rocks. 🙂

  39. First off, I am a huge breast is best advocate, BUT, I am an even bigger: Babies need healthy mommies more than they need breast milk advocate.
    In terms of how to shut up the ignorant? What I suggest to moms is the following:
    "I know breast milk is good, but I know my baby needs me more than he/she needs my breast milk."
    Also, not to bring you down, but keep in mind that if you decide to "tough it out" for the baby, you are actually making your baby "tough it out too."
    What's best for you is what is best for the baby. And if the good meds is what is right/best for you, it's probably what is good for the baby.
    Best of luck.

  40. If the best thing for you is to formula feed and take the drugs that you know work for you, then do it. A healthier mom means a healthier baby, whether from breastfeeding or formula.

  41. All those things you list in your second paragraph would make ANYONE stressed out. Try to be more gentle with yourself. Your baby will be healthy and happy. You are a great mother. That is NOT contingent upon the food in his/her belly, but the love that goes with it. I had a bottlefed baby and a breast/bottlefed baby. I didn't make enough milk. It was what it was. Lactation Consultants, Midwives, Doulas…everyone was helping me. I felt the judgment and cried those tears. Not one of those people will walk a mile in your shoes so you have to let go of their issues, don't carry them with you. Some women give up work, some do not. Maybe you like to work. I know that I had to work and I liked it. If you want to nurse for 3-months (or more) then do more research on the medications. Never trust a mental health person to know the current research. Its not their bailiwick.
    I am a "retired" doula and so my advice may be more than you want…but here it is. When I read your post I see a Type A personality struggling with the demands that a new baby will add to her life. This is one of the greatest lessons of motherhood. We plan things how we want them to go and then the universe takes over and tells us how its going to be. You cannot control everything, yet everything will be ok.

  42. I had a similar situation with my second child–I knew there was a specific combination of two antidepressants that worked for me, but one of them wasn't safe for breastfeeding. I decided to try the safe one while I breastfed my son, and although I was able to function, I wasn't anywhere near myself. I stopped breastfeeding after six months to start the other medication, and the day I stopped was a joyous one indeed.
    All that being said, I knew from the beginning that I didn't like breastfeeding (I too had a terrible experience the first time around), and that I would stop as soon as I knew it was interfering with my ability to be a good parent to both of my children. Also, I wasn't working at the time, and I'm almost positive that would have greatly changed my decision-making process.
    In addition, I had a really supportive circle of close friends who helped me weigh options, shared their own experiences, and gave me encouragement when I finally did make the choices I made. They helped me fend off any judgment or feelings of inadequacy I got from other mothers. Unfortunately the judgment did affect me, in spite of my own knowledge that I was doing the best thing for me and my family.
    I think the bottom line is that only you can know what is best. The whole "breast is best" thing is great for women who have no idea what a baby needs to survive, but it sounds like you're pretty well educated and can make good choices without all the propaganda. As long as you are secure in your own decision, you can be confident in telling prying outsiders that breastfeeding just isn't for you. I know that's easier said than done, but in my opinion at least, having to tell people to butt out is easier to handle than having to endure the pain of living with a choice that you're not completely happy with.
    I wish you all the best in the coming weeks.

  43. I have always told my husband that if we were to ever have another, there is no way I would nurse ever again. I hated every moment of it with my first because of continueous mastitis, duct problems, etc… But I stuck it out thinking I was doing the right thing for my daughter. Looking back now, with the PPD I was dealing with and all, I should have stopped breastfeeding when I was in the hospital.
    You need to do what is right for you to be the best mom possible and that might be taking meds, and formula baby. If sleep is a problem, the formula would also allow your husband to take a few shifts a night so allow you to sleep and vise versa.
    I know what the pressure of ousiders can do. You can do this. Stand strong and have solid reasons in your mind as to why you are going to do what you plan on, so you can go back to those thoughts when people question your motives or actions.
    Congrats on your new baby!

  44. Wow – lots of comments already! I can't read them all at the moment, so I may be repeating here.
    I ended up not breastfeeding b/c I had a thousand things going against me after baby #1. I too ended up on meds that are not safe for breastfeeding. As I mentally prepare for baby #2, I too have the same decision as you to make.
    I've pretty much come to the conclusion that my healthy, beautiful and smart daughter did just find on formula, then I'm sure future babies will as well.
    Happy mom is needed for a happy baby!
    Do what is best for you!
    I'd take the meds, and not breastfeed if I were in your shoes. To all the judgemental mommies out there – forget em! They aren't in your shoes and aren't living your life.
    I used to be so embarrassed that I was formula feeding – only b/c I was such a hardcore, judgemental breast feeding advocate even before I had a baby. My world got flipped upside down, and I'm not that judging mommy anymore. So forget them!! And TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  45. AMEN TO THAT!

  46. I'm a dyed in the wool lactivist – nursed #1 for 28 months, #2 for 22, 9 months of tandem nursing them both, which sucked (pun intended), and I'm currently nursing #3. My mom was a LLL leader. I'm exactly the kind of person whose judgment you fear.
    And sister, I am here to tell you to tell people like me to kindly f&^k off if they blow you any static. A sane mother is more important than breastfeeding. Period. You don't owe anyone any explanation. Your health (both physical and mental) is private – it's even protected by law (HIPAA), so why do you feel like you need to explain anything to anyone?
    Stand before the mirror and practice a withering glare and the words, "That is private, and none of your business," until you can do it convincingly and believe it. And if anyone has the audacity to say word one to you about your feeding choice, you sock it to 'em with both barrels.
    Seriously. You have enough to worry about. Judgmental people can go to hell.
    Stop worrying about it, make the decision to bottle feed, and enjoy your baby.

  47. Hi, I don't know what's right for you, but I want to offer you my full support. First and foremost I want to give you my support as another working mom. I know "how you do it" because I do it myself, and my 2 kids are thriving. I also want to extend my support to you as a mother who breastfeed one of her children and who did not breastfeed the other. I know that there can be A LOT of pressure out there. I do have a somewhat unique perspective because I am a Family Physician and therefore have the medical training that makes it easier for me to read the actual studies that come out on breastfeeding (not just the reports in the lay press). Breastfeeding is just not all it has been cracked up to be. The claims about allergies, obesity, intelligence and cancer have not been supported by high quality large scale studies. All that remains is that gastroenteritis type illnesses ("stomach flu") is slightly more common in babies fed with formula, to the tune on one extra case per child per year. If you choose to formula feed (and I send you my love and support whatever you choose)I would recommend that you just make sure not to rewarm or re-use half eaten bottles in order to prevent this. Whatever you decide, I am wishing you and your family all the best in these upcoming weeks and months. I think you are doing a terrific job, and you are obviously a loving caring mother with great instincts!

  48. My heart goes out to you. I suffered from postpartum anxiety and depression during all three of my pregnancies. I also took anti-depressants from 36 weeks on so that I could handle the postpartum stress.
    During my last postpartum experience, I experienced postpartum psychosis.
    The key indicators in my life were extreme stressors. Housing, my husband's job, and the health of my baby were all waffling at the time. I did not move my baby to formula because I did not think I would have the support of my husband or community.
    Psychosis definitely changes perspectives.
    Your mental and emotional health is paramount. Beyond what 'those' women think in your community, hold your head high. You are doing what is best for your baby. They can't know everything.
    They don't know. They won't.
    Do it knowing you are making the best possible choice you can and that all the people here are supporting you.

  49. Katherine Stone/Post says:

    Alexis makes a good point here in that there's nothing wrong with being affected by what people think. We all are at some point in our lives, even though we know we shouldn't be. While I didn't care what people thought when I chose not to breastfeed the second time around, it doesn't mean I haven't cared what people thought about me in other situations in my life. Sometimes it hurts or, at the very least, is uncomfortable.
    I find that the more well I am, the more confident I am in my decision-making, and thus less apt to be affected by the judgment of others. Plus, I sometimes have to accept being uncomfortable, rather than make a decision that would make other people happy but might hurt me or my family.

  50. You have to decide what is best for you, but it really sounds as if you KNOW what is best for you, you just don't know if you want to do it.
    I say go with your gut.
    A mentally healthy mommy is ALWAYS more important that HOW the baby gets food. Your child will be happy and healthy no matter if he/she is fed by breast or bottle.
    Your well-being needs to come first so you can be the best mom possible.
    Much love to you, momma.

  51. Breastfeeding is great, but you know what is also great? A mom that is healthy emotionally, mentally and physically.
    I was diagnosed with postpartum depression only a few weeks after I returned to work (10 weeks postpartum to a baby born 5 weeks early.) I went right back to work full time in my department–the department I ran in which I was the only staff member. The institution I worked for had no one cover for me while I was gone. I had a huge work load on top of doing an extremely physical job in a less than ideal environment. I struggled with breastfeeding and my supply dropped after going back to work partially because I was so dehydrated and exhausted from my job. Finally I just cracked. I went to my doctor and while talking about what was making me unhappy I admitted that my struggles with breast feeding made me feel like a failure and if I gave it up I would be hurting my child. It was at that point that my doctor explained to me that the best gift I could give to my baby was to take care of myself and if that meant giving up breast feeding so I could be a healthy and stable person, that was okay.
    I decided to give up breast feeding (which was hard because I did love the bonding aspect even though I did struggle) and get on medication. And I am glad I did that. It wasn't an easy decision, but it was my decision. My son, almost 2, is happy and healthy.
    Unlike you I never had to justify my choice to other parents–mostly because I didn't know a lot of other moms out there at the time. I am sorry that you are feeling judged by the other moms/families around you. Just know that there are people, like me, who will support your decision to formula feed. I wish you and your family all the best.

  52. oh hun. i feel for you with this decision! it's a toughie!!! As someone w/ serious ppd/a with baaaaad insomnia, i managed to breastfeed 10 months. i say that because even though *i* managed to, after reading your story, to me, it seems like a no-brainer to go the formula route!
    I was someone who enjoyed breastfeeding and it was still soo hard! If it was torture to me, plus I couldn't be on my meds, it would be a definite NO.
    I know it's hard with the judgy judgers. but seriously? What matters is YOU healthy and your baby healthy. Your baby can be healthy on formula with a happy mom!

  53. Unfortunately, people will ALWAYS be judgmental, no matter what you do. You just have to know in your heart that you have made the right decision for you and your family. Personally I believe (and agree w/ Lori) that you need to take care of yourself in order to be a good mom to your baby. If you need to go on meds, and if it will allow you to be more present for your children, then screw the breast milk and start on formula.
    I had to stop breastfeeding at 10 weeks b/c I went on PPD meds (antidepressant and antianxiety) and got major pressure from my mother to stop breastfeeding while on the meds. My psychiatrist assured me that I could continue to BF but it was already too late, my supply had dwindled too much. My son was on formula from that point on and is has done great. If we do this all again, I will discuss the BF vs. formula options w/ my doctor.
    I hope you start feeling better soon. I know how much PPD sucks.

  54. There are so many ways to do what is best for baby – breastfeeding is not the only way. Having a mom who can function and take care of her family, job, etc because she takes care of herself is THE BEST WAY to do what is best for baby.
    Don't tough it out. Being a mom is tough enough.

  55. I think you should do what is best for you. Doing so will make you a better mom. If you don't want to deal with telling the breastfeeding moms you aren't BF, then lie and say you are pumping at work or prefer a bottle in public or BF at night and do formula during the day. Whatever you want. I would do that anyway, to get them off my back. I'd also watch closely for another mom who may look like everything is great, but who is also struggling. You never know but that one of these mothers is trying to look good for everyone else, but is suffering as much as you. Good luck to you!!!

  56. Do what is best for you! Who cares what other mom's think… you know what is best for you and your baby! This is how I look at it – if you aren't emotionally well, then its a struggle to be a good mama. If you feel better taking the medicine and not breast feeding…then do that because then you can function and be the best mother you can be!

  57. "It's okay not to breastfeed."
    There's an article fromPsychology Today about this. Maybe someone referenced it. I can't get the link to post

  58. Everything that I was thinking has already been covered 🙂 So I am just going to say do what is best for the baby. Does the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh the benefits of having a healthy parent(whether it is physically or mentally? I say NO!! I hope you can come to a decision that gives you peace even in the face of the negative reaction by people about something that is really none of their business.

  59. I'm definitely a BF supporter, BUT you need to do what is best for your family. Feeling sane and being able to care for your baby is just as important (if not more) than breastfeeding. Take care of yourself and let the judgemental folk fall by the wayside. They have never walked in your shoes and shouldn't pretend like they have.
    You could also look into donor milk through MilkShare, Eats of Feets or Human Milk for Human Babies (all on Facebook) and have something lined up before your little one is born.
    Best of luck, you're in my thoughts and prayers!

  60. This is exactly my advice.
    It's not that you're putting yourself over the baby. Yes, breast is best but formula isn't rat poison. & a happy momma equals a happy baby & thus a happy family.
    You're going to do beautifully. Take a deep breath & know that you have already come so far through the pregnancy & you are so much better prepared this time around.

  61. I believe your current anxiety is making it look as if there are only two choices – this is not true. There will almost certainly be a way you can get the medication you need and still have your baby on breastmilk for 3-6 months or so.
    Here are some possibilities:
    1) Go back to your psychiatrist. Explain that you are not happy with the choice between a 'safe' med and an effective med. There are a lot of breastfeeding safe medications out there that pack quite a punch when it comes to PPD and anxiety (I'm a researcher in psychopharmacology).
    2) You obviously really don't want to breastfeed. Now, I'm a total boobnazi, still bfing my 21month old (while on meds!), but there are other ways to bond with your baby *and* make sure they get breastmilk. Lots of snuggling, skin-on-skin, and get in touch with http://www.eatsonfeets.org/ before your bub is born to get hooked up with donor milk. This is TOTALLY okay to do. You don't have to be on radiation therapy or have no boobs to use donor milk.
    You really don't have to explain your decision to bottle feed to anyone, but if you choose to close rude people down, I suggest you say 'I'm not able to breastfeed right now, I'm taking chemotherapy.' This is technically true, and will generally send rude individuals away with their tails between their legs. Any further questions should get a 'Wow, that's a personal question. Why would you ask me that?' said in a friendly manner. This makes people stop and think.
    My best wishes to you.

  62. Christina says:

    I'm sorry that you're going through so much right now! I imagine it must be hard to feel that guilt about not breastfeeding, but it seems like you would be a better mother, both physically and mentally, to your children if you took the "good stuff" and skipped out on the weaker meds. Remember, you have to be a good mother to not only your newborn, but also your other child and if you take the meds that keep you functioning, but aren't the perfect combination then you may be able to breastfeed your one child, but may be lagging emotionally with your other child. Not sure if that makes sense. Know you have support here on the interwebs no matter what you choose!

  63. It terms of the pharmacology of it, she does have a point. I wouldn't say this is projection of experience so much as a research recognised truth about a lot of psycho-active drugs, especially those affecting the serotonergic system – there is a high habituation effect. If the OP has started and stopped the same medication *more*than*once* before (i.e. she has been on it two previous times), the research shows that she would be better off trying a different medication because there will be a longer lag time for the med to be clinically effective, and the level of effectiveness will probably be lower. Yes, everyone is different and responds to different medications in their own way, however there is an overarching pattern to drug response – otherwise how could we prescribe any drug for any one condition!

  64. A Breastfeeding Frie says:

    I think the key here is that you really disliked breastfeeding.
    Now, I am 100% for supporting breastfeeding mothers and it would be great if every mom gave it "a chance" (as defined by the mom herself, no one else). I also think that few moms who stop nursing realize how much easier it does get.
    That said, there is no reason you should have to "fight through" anything that is complicating other issues you are having. If you have found breastfeeding does not work for you–because the meds that worked last time are not compatible, because it exacerbates rather than alleviates the PPD, because you don't want to do it and hate to pump, because it takes precious time away from the things you enjoy as a mom or as a person, because of whatever other reason that is no one else's business–then it simply does not work for you.
    I also know it is very easy to sit at a computer and tell you to tell everyone else to piss off…and very hard to actually do it when you are being judged about something and are feeling uncomfortable with that judgment.
    Hopefully the person you are seeing will help you feel comfortable with your decision and you will be able to cope with the feeling of being judged.
    Try to focus energy on the things that make you feel good, rather than the things and people who bring you down.
    I wish you a healthier, happier postpartum period and I can see you have a big supportive group right here.

  65. Reading your post one thing stands out to me and I'd like to ask the question just to put it out there:
    Do you measure your effectiveness/skill/success as a parent/person by the oppinions expressed by others?
    You need to realise that their comments say more about them than they do about you. All mothers are insecure about their skill, all mothers need validation and unfortunately too many of them will 'justify' their choice as the 'only' correct choice, because afterall, if someone makes a choice different from theirs and it is "not wrong" then that could mean that they were wrong themselves.
    you KNOW what is the right choice for you and your baby. Breast is best, but happy baby AND happy mummy is much better!
    Take care,
    Agnes

  66. Katherine Stone/Post says:

    If I was one of those people who wrote about sensational topics everyday to drive blog traffic, or did lots of linkbaiting, it's clear I would just need to write about breastfeeding vs. formula feeding nonstop. Except of course I'm not one of those people …
    I'm not sure I've ever gotten more than 60 comments on a post here at PP … it doesn't happen often anyway. Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts and being as supportive as possible. This is why you guys are awesome.

  67. Amen to Becky and Blair! I myself struggled with breastfeeding my daughter, after an unplanned c-section and then having an urgent gallbladder removal 6 days later, I was sore and tired and already showing signs of PPD/PPA not just the baby blues. I was going crazy about breastfeeding, it gave me SO much anxiety. My mom pleaded with me to not feel guilty about stopping, that a healthy momma is what it best. I stopped, and formula fed and was diagnosed 2 weeks later. I was able to try several different medications because I wasn't breastfeeding and turns out, the best combo for me is not safe for breastfeeding, category c to be exact.
    All of that to say this….I need to talk it over with my psychiatrist, but we are pretty sure I will be starting non-safe for baby medications as soon as I deliver my next child. I am not even pregnant and I already struggle with those feelings. Should I just try breastfeeding again because maybe I won't get PPD and PPA as bad this time and breastfeeding will be easier? How will I feel when my milk comes in and I am not able to feed my child the way I am "supposed" too? What will people say? Will I have to justify it to them that I am not breastfeeding because of medication? And then I realize that the alternative to me not taking a cocktail of medication that I know works the best for me, is not an alternative I am willing to risk. I don't want to put my children, my husband or myself through that pain again, if I can help it.
    What you are feeling is normal, the doubts, the fears. You need to do what you feel is best for your family, regardless of what others think.

  68. Loveycats says:

    Hi
    I believe it's a shame that troubled moms are asked to choose between their health or giving into the pressure from outsiders to breastfeed. Please take a look at the article "The Case Against Breastfeeding" by Hanna Rosin in the April 2009 issue of The Atlantic (www.theatlantic.com). The title is a bit misleading; the author is not against breastfeeding, but she points out that benefits touted in popular literature are not supported by research noted in medical journals. I don't know if reading it will help you in your situation, but possibly it will help you understand that the benefits of breastfeeding are actually rather small (at least in first world countries) and that you are not really sacrificing the health of your baby by formula feeding. Just this knowledge may help you feel better about it if you decide to formula feed and allow you to let any criticism to "roll off your back".

  69. Even though I am whole heartedly a breasting advocate, I believe that mothers need to be heathly themselves in order to raise healthy kids. If this means that you need medication to do so then by all means do so. I know plenty of wonderful formula fed kids that are healthy, happy, and growing just fine. Every woman has to make their own choices. Tell people your milk didn't come in….it happened with two of my friends. Tell people this baby couldn't get a proper latch and a LC advised you to go with the bottle, no one has to know that it's formula and not breast milk. Tell people to mind their own business and get over it. Whatever works for you, but what matter is it is whatever works for YOU!!!! You are this child's mother, responsible for the decisions. You know what is best. Go for it. Do what is right for both of you, but especially you.

  70. I had the same group of "concerned" friends & neighbors, so I didn't offer the information as "up 4 discussion"! I just had 2 tell them 2 back off, that the "Milk-Nazi" attitude will not work in my home! It was hard only once, then they stopped offering their advice.
    Because of my PPD, my second child did not breast feed at all & he is a VERY HEALTHY, athletic, intelligent 6 year old today! And I am still here, alive, & finally enjoying motherhood! I am so thankful I didn't successfully take my life because of the PPD! It has been a slow return 2 "normal" (literally 5 years!)!!!!
    So hang in there, tell them to mind their own business & do what you have to so you can be there for them years to come!
    I'm just saying……

  71. Was thinking about my comment and wanted to clarify because my opinion is implied here but not direct. I feel that if I had the medication when she was an infant she and I both would have been happier. I truly believe that even as a baby she was able to feel the emotions around her and that she was affected by how I felt. Based on my own experience, I think that taking care of “Mom” comes first so all around can be happy and healthy as well.

  72. Was thinking about my comment and wanted to clarify because my opinion is implied here but not direct. I feel that if I had the medication when she was an infant she and I both would have been happier. I truly believe that even as a baby she was able to feel the emotions around her and that she was affected by how I felt. Based on my own experience, I think that taking care of "Mom" comes first so all around can be happy and healthy as well.

  73. This mother didn't like breastfeeding her first child, but she was obviously dealing with postpartum mood issues that weren't adequately dealt with (since she was just "functioning" and didn't get better until going on a different medication and stopping breastfeeding). It can be very easy for postpartum mood issues to color a mother's perception of whether breastfeeding is good or bad. Who knows? With the right medication cocktail, she could love it this time.
    Of course, if she doesn't want to breastfeed, it is her choice, but my first thought when someone mentions not being able to use a medication while breastfeeding is, "Are you absolutely sure?" I would hate to see a mother and baby miss out on breastfeeding because of misinformation.

  74. My opinion is to get you better and focused. i too suffered from severe ppa.. I worry and stess over things and about what others think..
    Take this time to get YOU better so you can enjoy your newborn.

  75. A child needs parents that are healthy and happy. No amount of breast milk will make up for the wonderful times that you lose with your new baby if you are too lost in PPA/PPOCD to really be emotionally available to your child.
    For what it is worth, I will breastfeed my next child in the hospital so they can benefit from colostrum, but I am dreading even doing that after my breastfeeding experience with my daughter. As soon as we arrive home the baby will be on formula.
    I wasted far too much time agonizing over breastfeeding problems when my daughter was born, and I will never, EVER get the time that she was a newborn back. (I also agonized over everything else thanks to the terrible PPA that I was suffering.)

  76. I breastfed my son and didn't love or hate it. It was convenient and easy for me to do, I produced huge amounts of milk and ended up disposing of a lot of it when he switched to formula at 11 months. That said, If there had been any reason that I could not have enjoyed the early months with my son due to PPD, I would have formula fed and taken the meds. I don't think breastfeeding is worth not being healthy, both mentally and physically. I also live in an area where breastfeeding is "the only way" and people look down on those who don't. If I had not been able to breastfeed, and if anyone had said anything about it, they would have gotten the sharp end of my tongue. People will find anything to criticize– you didn't gain enough weight, you gained too much weight, you worked too much, you exercised too much, blah blah. Do what is right for you–please– and your baby will be fine– formula or breastfed. Both of your children will be better off with a happier mom.

  77. I'm getting my PhD in developmental psychology, and all I want to add is that the benefits of sensitive and responsive parenting totally outweigh those of breastfeeding. Of course it would be ideal to do both, but depression and anxiety are very strongly linked with less responsive parenting and if breastfeeding means sacrificing your mental health, you're actually doing a greater disservice to your baby (both children actually) by "toughing-it" to breastfeed. This is not to say that any choice you make would be wrong, but hopefully this glimpse into what the research says will help make you feel more confident if you decide to go with the meds and formula feed from the get-go.

  78. I have been here, done that, and bought the t-shirt.
    My first postpartum experience was awful, and so much of it had to do w/breastfeeding. I honestly don't know if BF provoked my PPD or my PPD provoked by BF troubles, but regardless, with my second kid, I was FREAKING!OUT! about what to do.
    Of course, this was compounded by the fact that I run a blog called The Fearless Formula Feeder and I felt like a total hypocrite b/c I had so much fear about feeding formula from the get-go. The first time, I quit b/c my son could never latch and had a horrible milk allergy which couldn't be controlled via elimination diet. This time, I'd be formula feeding for my own mental health, and what did that say about me as a mom?
    What finally worked for me is remembering that yes, my son had the benefit of breastmilk, but my daughter? She got the benefit of a healthy, happy mom. Something my son never got as an infant. And I have to tell you, not having to stress about BFing made so much difference, plus I got to stay on my meds and get the dose right without worrying about it coming through my milk. I LOVED my postpartum experience this time. It was night and day.
    Whatever you decide, please know that all that matters is doing what is right for you and your family. They need you far, far more than any baby needs breastmilk. And if you need support, please stop by the blog (http://fearlessformulafeeder.com) and check out some of the posts marked PPD. I hope it will make you feel less alone.

  79. Oh, you sweet woman. First, throat punch all those moronic woman/aliens. We are supposed to support, not judge each other. What if you'd had a mascetomy and therefore could not breastfeed? It's essentially the same thing: you cannot breastfeed b/c it is not medically possible. You NEED the good meds. I pushed through to 4 months, waiting for the good stuff, but by that point I was preggers again. What followed was a downward spiral of death that I would wish on Bin Laden. As dishonest as it sounds, I might just blatantly lie to these judgey woman, or vomit emotionally all over them and make them TOTLLY uncomfortable. So, I'd either say, "My milk didn't come in, wierd/he wouldn't latch, some odd tongue thingy/we tried but my supply was too low" etc, or I'd just spew, "If I don't take the good meds then I get all batsh*t crazy and I'll totally go off on you, and gee, we'd hate that, wouldn't we? I mean, I'd be way over the top about you asking why I enjoy working, if my kids are loved/cared for/well adjusted/well nourished. But instead, thanks to modern medical advancements and better living through chemicals, we don't have to have that little conversation b/c I can totally be OK with you!" Haters. Also, if you're worried about breastmilk vs formula, isn't there a breast milk bank of some sort you can use for a few weeks? Or perhaps a friend who'd be willing to help out? Sending you hugs and support and letting you know I'd be on board with you doing what YOU need to do so your baby got the best MOM and best YOU.

  80. Some psychiatrists are leary of prescribing Lamictal while breastfeeding. My psychiatrist repeatedly asked me about breastfeeding and made sure I would only bottle feed before he would let me get back on Lamictal.

  81. This is such an intensely difficult question for me to attempt to answer. When I was pregnant with my son, I knew I wanted to breastfeed, and when he was born and I was spiraling, it was the one thing I felt I was doing right. So I stuck with it, and as such, I've become quite a strong advocate for every mother giving it a chance.
    But you know what?
    You did give it a chance. And your health suffered because of it. And I think you've wrote your answer when you said
    "The best thing for me would be to formula-feed and take the more effective medication"
    And that's completely okay. You know the best thing for you and for your family.
    My first instinct was to use a cover-illness. To tell women you were diagnosed with a thyroid condition while you were pregnant and that the medication necessary to control it is contraindicated with breastfeeding. But then that felt unethical.
    I'd be willing to put money on the fact that those "perfect" mothers are lying their faces off to try and appear perfect. While you may not want to put yourself out there, saying "Hey, you know? This motherhood thing is tough and we're all doing the best we can" might open a dialogue. Will there be some judgers? Sure. Absolutely. But PMADs are so infrequently talked about that those other mothers may just not feel safe opening up. They may be just as insecure about their decisions as you are.
    I think you owe it to yourself to be comfortable with your choice. And to stand up for that choice if you have to and want to. You may find some comfort and validation in speaking out. Even a sense of peace.
    But at the end of the day, it's no one's business but your own.
    If you want to talk, reach out. I'm here.

  82. First, I wish you the best on your decision. Keep in mind that it is YOUR decision (of course in conjuction with your doctor/partner). Motherhood is a very rewarding but difficult journey and unfortunately not all of our fellow mothers are supportive. Bottom line…a happy mother is the MOST important thing. You will bond better with your baby (and be more available for your other child) if your PPD/Anxiety/OCD is under control. If you are breastfeeding yet suffering then that is not healthy for baby (and older child–let's not forget that child!). I agree with a previous post that those who do not support you or are judgemental are not really your friends! Best wishes!

  83. It sounds like formula feeding is best for you, and I think if you're happy it will only be better for your baby. Breastfeeding may be good, but an unhappy momma isn't.
    I'm a breastfeeding advocate, but not to the point where I think it's the only option. I have friends that couldn't breastfeed for different reasons and I don't judge. I would just tell people it didn't work out, or give another vague answer. Otherwise, just tell them it's none of their business! Because really, it's not.
    I hope you find what is best for you and best wishes on your 2nd baby!

  84. You know- this just sucks- because this should be such a happy time and you are stressing out. I wish others wouldn't be so judgemental. You are making a human- that's AWESOME! I say do what you want to do- heck- prepare for a few different senarios- keep the safe breastfeeding drug on hand and if you feel like breastfeeding after your beautiful baby is born- then give it a go. And if not- then don't. Take the meds that work and be the happy loving mom that you are! The most important thing is that your baby will be healthy and happy- and that you will be healthy and happy- and a happy mommy = a happy family!! Congrats- enjoy this last bit of pregnancy- and enjoy your new bundle of joy!!

  85. Brandy @Brandy' says:

    I'm sorry you're already receiving a bunch of comments from people. It's really no one's business how you decide to feed your baby. Breast might be best, but there ARE times where the momma might not be able to or might not WANT to. It's their decision.
    That said, if you're on Facebook and you don't want to start your baby on formula, you could look up Human Milk 4 Human Babies. It's a newer organization that helps mothers who have extra breastmilk stored and don't need it anymore to find other mothers who DO need it … so they can give their children breastmilk. You might be able to find a chapter in your state … or in a neighboring state.
    {hope this link works lol}
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Human-Milk-4-Human-
    If you hit the "chapter list" on the left, you can search for your state.
    And if that's not something you want to do … and you don't want to breastfeed, then don't worry about it. What's important is that your baby is fed, not HOW it's fed.
    Hugs to you!

  86. You have to do what feels good for you. Did you enjoy breastfeeding? Why do you want to breastfeed? Is it because there are external pressures that makes you feel forced? Or this is something that you want to do?
    Ask yourself what do you want.
    If you want to give BF a go, get your doctor to sit down with you and work out a plan. Remember, you've kicked PPD in the ass before and now you have a doctor already working with you. Get a game plan going.
    If you do and can't afterwards it is not your fault. Remember that. I had to give up BFing with my son and he was formula fed and he's talking in paragraphs! Formula is good. Heck we eat fast food and who knows what lingers in that crap!
    And if you chose to just formula feed it is ok. Remember that as long as you are loving the baby and he/she is getting fed and getting plump and thriving it doesn't matter where that food came from.
    Love and sanity is what counts
    And what YOU want.
    Don't let anyone force you into a decision that is only meant to be made by you and you alone.
    Much love and hugs.

  87. You need to do what makes YOU be the best mommy for your children. Although I am a big breastfeeding advocate, I also deal with Anxiety issues and I realize that if those issues got in the way of me being the best mommy I could be, I would need to re-consider how I am taking care of myself. Meaning, get on the meds if that's what helps you. Your child will still feel your love through many other avenues other than breastfeeding. It's important, but THE LOVE and care you give to your child is MORE important. Feel happy knowing you are doing whats best for your child!

  88. Man oh man, I feel your pain. Baby #1's bfing experience was H*LL and I think contributed to my PPA that started at 7 weeks postpartum. With Baby #2 I was still so traumatized by my previous experience that I didn't even want to mess with agonizing over it so when he wasn't latching I said, "NOPE. Not doing this again" and pumped for 5 weeks. PPA/PPOCD set in again around 7 weeks and this time one of my MAJOR symptoms was OBSESSIVE thoughts about all the women who were looking at me in church while I bottle fed. Or if anyone had just had a baby my first thought was, "I wonder if they are breastfeeding." I felt so bitter about breastfeeding that I "joked" that I wasn't going to breastfeed my next baby at all, just to SPITE the the bfing world. LOTS of bad feelings in that arena. I get how it feels to feel like the whole world is staring at you if you bottle feed. When you are not well your perceptions are usually not correct. I feel like this was the case for me.
    So baby #3: experienced depressive symptoms for the first time during the pregnancy and chose to take meds through out the pregnancy and they worked wonderfully. I, again, started to agonize whether I even wanted to mess with bfing again. I also didn't know if the meds were safe. I assumed that most antidepressants weren't safe. So I started doing research. Was able to look up my meds in the book by Dr. Thomas Hale, which was mentioned above and I also have access to "PubMed" and looked at tons of studies. I just wanted to know, for myself, FOR SURE if the meds were not safe, and not just take one doc's word for it. Found out that it was safe. So, with that info to reassure me and also with the mantra that "I will do this as long as I am not stressing out about it" I decided to try bfing with my third. We had a bit of difficulty the first few weeks…but I was, suprisingly, NOT getting stressed out about it! Got to 2 weeks and I asked myself it I could do this for 2 more weeks and I felt I could, again, without stressing out. I continued with that "system", of not having ANY pressure to continue to a certain "point" (not to mention I made sure he took at least one bottle of formula a day!! That was also key to me not stressing out…) and we were able to continue for 10 1/2 months! I feel like this was a very healing experience for me. Not just because we made it for "so long" but just because I put absolutely NO pressure on myself to continue and made sure that I was doing mentally well through it all.
    Anyway….I wish you the very best in making the decision that you will be the most at peace with. Your baby, older child, your husband and YOU all deserve to have you PRESENT and to enjoy, as much as possible, your life together.

  89. I hate how something so private your decision regarding breastfeeding becomes something that is ok for others to comment on. I sometimes think women are overly sensitive in the postpartum period though and feel like they are being judged when they are not. It really is none of anybody's business. I'm a birth doula, so I naturally ask expectant moms questions about birth preferences and breastfeeding, but only as a means to offer information and support, not to judge. I switched to formula with my second baby when I started taking Zoloft. She was 6 weeks old and I felt horrible at the time and felt like others were judging me. However, when I really thought about it, I didn't care if other women breastfed or bottlefed. I was impressed by the moms who didn't try to justify their decision one way or the other by either raving about the benefits of breastfeeding or by defending their decision to bottlefeed. Part of being a mom is making decisions that are best for your baby and your family and sometimes doing what is best for you is what is best for everybody. Same goes for whether you work or not. Every woman has to decide what is best for her and her family.
    Amy Fox
    Mom to 3

  90. What I love about the social community is that it can be a community of moms supporting other moms. Withholding judgment. Moms are so frequently have to make tough decisions and they are all the more difficult when met with judgment. The best thing a mom can do is to raise her children with the utmost love and care. To do that she must be healthy and happy. As a new mother I was in critical condition due to a pregnancy complication when I began to recover I was on so many meds I could not breastfeed. My daughter is developing wonderfully and while I thought I would breastfeed this unforeseen complication made it impossible. But she is still thriving. Kudos to all moms regardless of what she decides.
    http://www.ladiesliveandlearn.com Editor in Chief Angela B Logan

  91. It's possible. Getting a donor is a private arrangement between the parties in question, so it just depends on who is available in your area and how much milk they can provide. There are no restrictions from the organization linked; they just serve as a communication service.

  92. Michelle Fletcher says:

    Your family needs you to be feeling well and strong. Be brave, stand by your instincts and convictions and have your family support you every step of the way. If someone can't support you or take the time to understand your full experience, they aren't a true friend so losing them won't really be a loss at all, will it? Once the false friends fall away, the true gems will be easier to spot.

  93. Don't worry about what other people think. You can't control that. Do what's right for you and your family. Take care of yourself first and formost. The only thing that matters is your mental health and you're baby's well-being. You have to take care of YOU first because you can't take care of others unless you're well. That being said, if you want to give breastfeeding (bfing) another try, go with the safe meds, maybe do both breastfeeding and supplementing, quit when you want to, then switch to the meds that worked but were unsafe for breastfeeding if/when needed. When you feel you're being judged, share with them as much or as little as you want/feel comfortable doing. If you do feel the need to explain your decision to use formula (and you certainly don't have to), say you had a medical issue and are unable to breastfeed. They can't argue with that! PPD is hormone related and I think it's a chemical imbalance in the brain. It's not your fault. Try and relax too. Stress is a killer.
    I had PPP (psychosis) for 4 months with my first and was hospitalized for a week for it, put on meds, and had to stop bfing. I hated bfing my first, but just had a second child 21 months later and loved bfing this time. I'm experiencing mild depression, so have stopped bfing to take some meds, but am considering pumping and trying to get off the meds and/or switch to some that are safe so I can use formula and bf. We all do what's right for us at the time, and that is ultimately the right decision.

  94. I am definitely an advocate of breastfeeding BUT I also have chronic depression & anxiety, and had PPD with my 2nd who is now 14 mos. You absolutely need to do what will make you healthy for your family first and foremost. If that requires that you formula feed, there is nothing wrong with that. I pumped for my first and he received partial breastmilk and partial formula. I was able to get feeding breaks and my husband enjoyed a more active rolein feeding. I was on a good, effective mix of medications. Now with my daughter I was able to make breastfeeding work and still continue to enjoy the breastfeeding relationship. I am also medicated. Each child and each experience is different. Perhaps if you keep your heart open and see how it goes, you will be able to decide. But again please get yourself treated as best you can and you must do what's right for you and yourfamily, no matter what others say or think. Hugs to you. Good luck.

  95. I have had really bad PPD after all three of my children and each time it went away once I stopped breastfeeding at 6 to 10 months. Has anyone ever heard of this before? I can't find ANY info about this ever happening to anyone else! The first time I did nothing to treat it. The second I took Zoloft which help me survive but I still had a really rough time even with it. The third time I tried every single natural and self-help suggestion I could find and Still had an Awful time and had to get on Zoloft again after a month to get through. But when I stop Breastfeeding the depression goes away every time. And the third time Breastfeeding was great. No problems with ANYTHING other than Depression. I really wonder if should have just skipped Breastfeeding and enjoyed my babies.
    I love how many suportive comments are on here. In all my research this is the first time I have seen so much support for someone needing to formula feed.

  96. Although I am a supporter of breastfeeding my opinion would be for you to go ahead and formula feed. Your child needs a mother who is stable and able to perform those motherly duties without being anxious or depressed. I think it would be a lot more difficult if you do decide to breastfeed because it would cause so much stress between you your children and spouse

  97. To any moms who feel judged by others, I would say: The judgment of others usually only bothers us if we are also judging ourselves. And we often imagine that others are judging us, when we are actually our own worst critics. If you feel judged, focus your energy on releasing your own judgments towards yourself and you’ll also feel free of the judgments of others.

  98. If I were to say to you, “I don’t know how you do it,” I would mean that I don’t know how you can handle the enormous demands of a newborn, a household, other children AND still manage to get up and dressed in real clothes and out the door to run your own business every day. Baby #4 is nearly 4 months old and I do good to shower twice a week. I would say it with admiration and more than a little envy, because I miss having a career! I breastfed all four of mine, the first for over 3 years! Number 3 was cut short at 7 months because my milk dried up when I got pregnant again. She’s the healthiest. 😉 And hands down the best sleeper. Take the meds that work. Lots of us nursing mommies aren’t judging you – and some of us hate it just as much as you did! I do it out of guilt, not love or desire.

  99. F those people who form opinions about your choice without knowing you well enough to even get it. You do what works for your growing family and most importantly what is best for you so that you can live life well…you deserve that ad nothing less!!!