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Breast Pumping and Antidepressants
You have been preparing for months, reading, studying and planning for the new baby that will soon share your life. Just days before that sweet baby comes into your life, you might feel like you’re ready and you know how to be a great mother. But what happens after you bring that adorable package home. Do you really know what to do? You’ve read and studied for months, but does it really prepare you for what you’re about to experience?
You start to feel doubtful, your body changes physically and emotionally, chemicals flow that you didn’t even realize you had. Why did no one prepare you for what you experience these first few weeks?
Many moms prepare and feel like they are ready to be the best mom they can be, but when you get home, things don’t feel comfortable or happy. Some moms begin to feel sad and depressed, not understanding why depression would set in at a time that is supposed to be so hopeful and exciting. Postpartum depression sets in and you don’t know what to do.
One of the most important things to do before your baby is born is to listen to all your feelings. Most moms who experience postpartum depression start feeling it before the baby is born. They have fleeting moments of sadness for no particular reason at all. Moms should talk to their OB/GYN about this as soon as possible.
Some doctors will determine that it would be a good idea for mom to start antidepressants during the third trimester if the baby seems healthy, and especially if mom has had some experience with depression in the past. Some soon-to-be mothers may be very concerned about this. What if the medication affects my baby while still growing in the womb, plus moms can’t even take aspirin? Also, how does this affect my breast milk?
Well, there have been some studies done on taking antidepressants during pregnancy and while breastfeeding your baby. Of course, there are some small risks associated with it, but many doctors take the position that the small risks associated with taking the drug far outweigh the risks of postpartum depression. Most believe that Zoloft is one of the least problematic antidepressants of any other.
In addition to looking for signs of postpartum during pregnancy, moms should also be aware of their emotions after the baby is born, especially during the first week. Although moms may find themselves crying by themselves in the bathroom, they may be ashamed that motherhood doesn’t come as easily as they believed or as easy as other moms say it is. It is very important that moms do not hide these feelings from family and friends. Once mom starts experiencing those little sad moments, she should tell someone right away, especially a close friend who is also a mom, or talk to your doctor.
In addition, with all the new responsibilities that mothers take on after the baby is born, this sometimes causes a lot of worry for the new mother. This may be the first time a new mom has complete and total responsibility for another person, and this can be a very scary experience. Everything from making sure the baby is changed regularly to feeding every 2-3 hours can be all-consuming on the new mom’s mind.
A very important and profound topic during pregnancy and after birth is your choice of feeding the baby. There is great advocacy for breastfeeding, for many good reasons. However, this is one more thing to think about at a time when everything can seem overwhelming. For many mothers, bringing a baby to the breast is a very comforting, natural experience for them, but for many others it is a great frustration with problems ranging from latching to worrying about the amount baby is consuming. If the frustration begins to rise to a point of concern, such as anger at the baby, then other feeding options should be considered at this point.
A comforting thought, however, is that you can still provide that wonderful, special breast milk for your baby without bringing a baby to the breast. Breast pumping can be a wonderful alternative to bringing a baby to the breast. For moms who worry endlessly about how much breast milk the baby is consuming, pumping can be a good option to allow moms to actually see what the baby is consuming. Plus, pumping can allow mom to get those few extra hours of sleep, which will certainly help minimize some of the depression experienced from sleep deprivation.
The most important thing to remember about postpartum depression is to let others, husband, friends, doctors and counselors, know how you feel, and accept any kind of help and support that is offered to you.
Copyright 2006, Wendy Williamson
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