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Bipolar and Breastfeeding

Posted by on Aug. 6, 2012 at 2:59 AM
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So, I was diagnosed with bipolar but my doctor refused to even talk to me about med while I'm breastfeeding. I also have awful anxiety problems. I am not a big fan of taking anything while breastfeeding in the first place but when NO doctor will even talk to you about meds while breastfeeding is discouraging. So, I decided not even try anymore doctors and told DH I would wean at 12 months with our last child then start meds. Well, DD is our last and will be 12 months next month. I really think weaning her would be way more stressful and anxiety inducing on me then just continuing nursing with no meds at all. I am so no where near ready to wean her and she is not ready either. The Hyland's Nerve Tonic helps, when I remember to take it. My husband is usually very supportive of  my choices but he is also tired of my out burst and roller coaster mood swings and to be honest I am too. I am so up in the air. There are moments I am so tired of breastfeeding, I have breastfed 3 kids for almost 4 years straight, non tandem unfortunately. I am not really sure what I am looking for, if its answers or encouragement or what. I think I just needed to get all this out to like minded people. Most of my IRL friends would not understand. Between my bipolar and RA I have had many, many friends and doctors try to talk me out of breastfeeding in the first place. I am so stressed out with everything that is going on. She's my baby girl, our last, I am not ready to finish breastfeeding but at the same time I am so tired of being so anxious! I am tired of deleting 80% of my FB comments because my anxiety goes through the roof as soon as I hit the enter button. Going out in public is getting hard. I know that none of this is healthy but I dont know what to do. Just thinking about it makes me very anxious!

Thank you for just letting me rambel. 

by on Aug. 6, 2012 at 2:59 AM
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by on Aug. 6, 2012 at 3:27 AM

I feel for you!  I grew up with an unmedicated BP mom and it is amazing how much better her life is now that she has her meds figured out.

I know there are antidepressants that are okay to breastfeed on, the antipsychotics I'm not sure on.  There's a website and a phone number that specialize in detailing the risk of specific meds during breastfeeding.  If you know which ones you might be taking you could start there.

by on Aug. 6, 2012 at 7:55 AM

 Rambel away!!  I know what it's like to have your last baby and know you will never get to breastfeed again.  It's a hard thing to let go of.  How are your other children handling your moods and anxiety?  You have to think of the whole picture, how life would be with those meds and how it is without them.  BFding is a wonderful thing but it can't be the only thing that works if everything else doesn't.  GL

by on Aug. 6, 2012 at 8:10 AM
Good luck I'm praying that you can find a solution that works for you and your family. I hope someone here can give you the answer that you were looking for.
by on Aug. 6, 2012 at 1:31 PM
I also grew up with an unmedicated (undiagnosed for years) bipolar mom and it was tough.
Do you see a therapist? That might be a great place to start. I feel very strongly about this. Also until you wean your daughter you can look into vitamin d and excersize. Good nutrition is also very important! These are all things that my mom has said have helped her with her illness (in addition to her meds).
Bipolar disorder can destroy families and lives. It increases your chance of addiction and suicide. I think this illness is something to be taken very seriously.
It must be so frustrating to you. You really want to bf and I assume it is because you want what is best for your children. Just know that you having good mental health is very important to your children as well. My mom wasn't diagnosed until I was in my mid 20s although I always knew something was wrong. My mother's illness has erased any possibility of a good mother/daughter relationship. Even though she is now medicated, the damage to our relationship has been done and seems irreparable. The emotional scars from my childhood effect every relationship I experience.
I hope you can can come up with a solution that your entire family can appreciate.
by on Aug. 6, 2012 at 2:36 PM

Thank you ladies. Things seem to be calm as long as I stay away from artificial foods (additives, dyes, ect.). I also found that potatoes and broccoli are naturally high lithium which is something they prescribe as a mood stabilizer. Also, if DH and I have sex every 2-3 days and I workout the mood swings seem to stay in check. I atleast want to make it Sept. 27th (her birthday). Then really think and slowly wean her if it seems right.

I never thought about the bigger picture and a relationship with my children and husband are more important. I think I will try to find another therapist. If I am having one of my episodes I try to stay away from the kids, which sounds awful but I dont like for them to see me like this or for me to hurt them. I dont think I ever would but this disease can be unpredictable. Yes, I have control over myself but unless you have actually experienced it I dont think anyone can really know what I am talking about. So far I have talked with 4 doctors and psychiatrist and none of them will even talk to me about any kind of meds unless I stop breastfeeding. My PCM even yelled at me for taking Hyland's Nerve Tonic while breastfeeding. Most around recommend not taking a single thing. According to them "anything could hurt the baby and none of it is worth the risk". 

by on Aug. 6, 2012 at 9:00 PM

It sounds like you need to stop bfing and get medicated. If your anxiety is getting to the point where you don't even like to leave the house, then it is interfering with yours and your childrens lives. You have done amazing going for so long bfing your children, but now you need to take care of yourself so that when they are older you will be there to help take care of them. You need to make sure that you are going to be stable enough to take care of your children in the way that you want to, and it sounds like in order to do that you need to medicate. You made it to 12 months, that is awesome!! Now take care of yourself. 

by on Aug. 7, 2012 at 9:39 AM

Have you checked the meds you would be prescribed on lactmed?

by on Aug. 7, 2012 at 1:55 PM

I have looked at it, I know he wanted to put me on a anti-depressent and mood stablizer but when I told him I am breastfeeding he refused to talk to me further and wouldnt tell me what he wanted to put me on. I wanted to know what brands or whatever he wanted to put me on so I could talk to an IBCLC and a ped but he refused to talk anymore about it until I stopped breastfeeding. 

by Jill - Admin on Aug. 8, 2012 at 12:01 AM
I would find out what is safe. There are many meds out there that are safe for breastfeeding. If you have to just say you weaned (obviously if you KNOW it's safe). Do your research. Plenty of moms take antidepressants and anti anxiety meds while breastfeeding.
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by on Nov. 18, 2012 at 9:32 AM
I realize this is old but google Ashwagandha I take it while Breastfeeding. I haven't been diagnosed but am wondering if I'm bipolar. And found a website saying Ashwagandha was the only thing that worked for people who had tried meds - the sight wasn't selling anything but I don't think I saved the link. I found this thread while searching for some answers for myself. But I so know whatever my emotional and mental issues are I feel better when taking my Ashwagandha
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