Are you hesitant about taking antidepressants when nursing your baby? Learning more about the safest brands for breastfeeding and what to ask your health team can help you make the decision.

If you’re planning to manage your depression symptoms with medication, you may wonder about the impact antidepressants could have on your breastmilk and baby.

There’s no size-fits-all answer to this question. Still, in many cases, breastfeeding when taking antidepressants is safe for both you and the little one. There are a few exceptions, though.

Overall, it’s safe to take antidepressants if you’re nursing as long as you’re following your health team’s guidelines and recommendations.

Managing your postpartum depression symptoms outweighs any possible challenges you may experience when taking medications.

Because everyone’s circumstances are different, when deciding whether you should take (or continue) antidepressants while pregnant or breastfeeding, your health professional can help you consider the pros and cons.

Some studies suggest that untreated depression in new mothers can have severe long-term effects on both you and the newborn.

If you’re living with depression or developed postpartum depression, treatment with antidepressants may be essential to your health and the baby, even if you’re breastfeeding.

Yes. Many medications, including antidepressants, can pass into your breast milk. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most antidepressants have “little or no effect on milk supply or infant well-being.”

If you’ve already been successfully taking medication for depression, your health professional may recommend that you continue using the same antidepressant.

If you’re taking a drug that might increase the chance your baby experiences adverse effects, a health professional may switch you to another type of antidepressant.

If this is your first time taking medication for depression or you need to change the one you’re taking, a doctor may recommend specific drugs.

Many antidepressants are safe if you’re nursing a little one. You can take Zoloft while breastfeeding, for example.

Zoloft has been widely studied and has consistently been undetectable in breastfeeding infants.

Research from 2010 also suggests the safest antidepressants to take while breastfeeding include:

Though these medications may make it into breast milk, they’re typically undetectable in infant blood and have had no reports of short-term adverse events.

Whether it’s continuing your prescription, adjusting your medication, or starting a new one, talking with your health professional is the best way of determining which (if any) antidepressant is best for you during breastfeeding months.

One 2011 study by the National Institute of Health found that some antidepressants tend to show in high concentrations in breast milk. These include:

Researchers also found that, sometimes, these medications are found in high concentrations in infants’ blood plasma and may lead to adverse effects.

When considering antidepressants while you’re nursing, you might want to discuss these specific medications with your health professional.

Consider the following questions when discussing your antidepressant options if you’re nursing a baby:

  • Should I stay on the antidepressant I’m currently on or switch to a different one?
  • What are the possible side effects my newborn may experience if I stay on my current medication?
  • What are some of the possible side effects I can experience if I switch to a new antidepressant?
  • What are the possible side effects for my newborn if I switch medications?
  • Should I consider changing my current dosage?
  • What are the consequences of stopping my antidepressants while I breastfeed?
  • What signs of possible adverse effects should I be aware of in my baby?

If you’ve never lived with depression or taken an antidepressant, you have several options. And to help you make the best choice for you and your baby, consider asking the following:

  • What are all my antidepressant options and what is the difference?
  • Will antidepressants make my symptoms less intense? How soon and for how long?
  • What are the possible side effects I could experience?
  • What are the possible adverse effects on my baby?
  • Do I need to tell my pediatrician about my new medication?
  • What other treatment options should I consider to manage my depression?
  • What happens if this medication doesn’t work? Can I switch or stop taking it?

Most antidepressants are safe for the baby if you’re breastfeeding. Some antidepressants may cross into breast milk but won’t affect the little one.

Research says that Zoloft, for example, is safe to take while breastfeeding.

You may want to talk with your health team about the pros and cons of taking antidepressants.

Untreated depression may mean more intense symptoms. This is why it’s a good idea to discuss all treatment options with a health professional. Depression can be managed and support is available, while breastfeeding while on antidepressants is often safe.