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Medications and the Nursing Toddler

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  • Medications and the Nursing Toddler


    I am still nursing my soon-to-be 3 year old. He nurses for about 20 minutes in the morning and for about 10 minutes before he goes to bed. He is around 30 lbs and eats a decent amount of solid foods.

    I am struggling with depression, anxiety, premenstrual dysphoric disorder and possible attention deficit disorder. I am meeting with a psychiatrist to discuss my treatment options. Considering that my son is so old and only nurses twice a day, should the fact that he is breastfeeding limit my medication options? Can I responsibly expand my treatment into second or third tier safety meds?

    Thank you very much.

  • #2
    Dr. Hale and I have discussed this question. Without knowing what specific medications your psychiatrist is considering, we can only speak in generalities.

    First, the MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR in choosing a medication is to settle on one that does the best job treating your depression and anxiety. The healthier, happier, and more functional you are, the better you will interact with your child and promote his development. This benefit almost certainly outweighs the risk of the micro-doses of medication in your breast milk.

    Secondly, we have extensive data on the use of antidepressants in breastfeeding mothers and the minimal transmission of these to the infant is believed to be quite safe.

    In your situation with an older infant, we know that the amount of mother's medication that is transferred to the baby reduces as he ages - mostly due to the decreasing volume of milk that he drinks.

    Should you have specific questions about the individual drugs, please call us at the InfantRisk Center . (806)352-2519

    James Abbey, MD


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