Postnatal Depression and Breastfeeding

You should not be ashamed if you have antenatal or postnatal conditions. Most mothers try their best to cover it up not realising that they don’t have control over the way they are feeling.

It is important for a mother to recognise the symptoms of antenatal and postnatal depression. The sooner a depression is identified the earlier the recovery can start.

Keep in mind that both antenatal and postnatal depressions can be treated.

Postnatal depression symptoms:

  • Sleep interruption or disturbance not related to baby’s needs
  • Frequent crying
  • The feeling of being unable to cope
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Pain
  • Fear of being alone
  • Fear of being with people
  • Feeling guilty and mediocre
  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Having suicidal thoughts

If you don’t feel happy after having your baby and you’re not excited to take care of your baby, it is important that you talk to someone you trust. If you don’t feel you can confide in your relatives or friends, you can talk to a medical adviser. You can also contact a PANDA counsellor (Post and Antenatal Depression Association) for guidance and advice.

Medications

Depending on your doctor, you may still breastfeed while on anti-depressant medication.

Ensure that your doctor knows that you are breastfeeding and ask him if it’s possible to breastfeed while taking a particular medicine.

Signs you should watch out for

If you know someone who shows some of the signs below then you should try to get help for them through your local health counselors. The following are danger signs you need to watch out for:

  • Talk of harming herself or her baby
  • Weird speech patterns
  • Risk-taking behavior
  • Drastic change in mood
  • Obsession with morbid thoughts
  • Statements such as they are better off without me.

In Summary

Postnatal and antenatal depression differ for each mother. But she will normally struggle to find happiness in her baby or her life. Though it is normal for mothers to feel tired or down, postnatal depression is different in the sense that it lasts longer. If you know someone or if you think you have postnatal depression then you may want to start getting help as earlier detection leads to fast recovery.

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