Too many breastfeeding women suffer symptoms of anxiety and depression and dont seek treatment because’
- they are ashamed
- they are frightened they may be seen as not a good enough mother and at risk of having their baby taken into care
- because healthcare professionals may not support ongoing breastfeeding
- they are worried that medication passing through milk may affect their baby
- they just find asking for help too hard
Our mental health varies every day and within every day – we move up and down just like a petrol guage. And that is normal. Every day thousands of mothers are worried, anxious, depressed and tired. We need to support them and admit that we can all be affected at some time in our lives.
Support Heads Together www.headstogether.org.uk/about-heads-together/ and check the information sheets for drugs which can be used by breastfeeding mothers with depression www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/wp-content/dibm/anti-depressants-oct14.pdf anxiety www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/wp-content/dibm/anxiety%20and%20breastfeeding.pdf and bi-polar www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/wp-content/dibm/Bipolar%20fact%20sheet.pdf
or email me firstname.lastname@example.org for information
Fathers and grandmothers of the baby may be the first to notice that a mother may not be her normal cheery self. Dont ignore it, talk about it as a family, help the special mum in your life get help whether it be medication or talking therapy. Life with a newborn is a precious time, be honest about feelings as you will not be alone. Dads can also feel depressed and anxious – you dont have to pretend to be strong.
Let’s talk about mental health and make it normal – then we can move forward stronger www.headstogether.org.uk/about-heads-together/
71% of 500 women who responded to a PHE study, think breastfeeding will limit the medication which can be taken! So lots of work for me still to do then. Could professionals buy a copy of Breastfeeding and Medication to reassure women?
Statements like this on the NHS site arent going to help – more about manufacturer protecting themselves? Not taking risks? Could be better worded as it just isnt true. Breastfeeding mothers with depression get treated every day and their babies are fine!
“Breastfeeding: As a precaution, the use of antidepressants if you’re breastfeeding isn’t usually recommended. However, there are circumstances when both the benefits of treatment for depression (or other mental health conditions) and the benefits of breastfeeding your baby outweigh the potential risks. If you’re treated with antidepressants when breastfeeding, then paroxetine or sertraline is normally recommended.”
The Start for life page https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/breastfeedingto which the chat box https://www.messenger.com/t/Start4LifeBreastFeedingFriend/ links identifies the BfN Drugs in breastmilk helpine which I run as a resource. But they dont fund it – it is run on a voluntary basis and they didnt ask permission to see if I can deal with additional work. But I will keep doing my best to support mothers who need medication whilst breastfeeding
” Almost three-quarters of women in England start breastfeeding after giving birth but less than half are still doing so two months later, according to NHS and Public Health England data.
PHE recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, as does the World Health Organisation, because it boosts a baby’s ability to fight illness and infection. But a comparison of initial breastfeeding rates and those after six to eight weeks in the final quarter of 2015 found that they were 40% lower for the latter (44% compared with 73%).
A survey of 500 mothers commissioned by PHE found that fears about breastfeeding among women included that it could be painful (74%), prevent them taking medication (71%) and be embarrassing in front of strangers (63%).
The PHE’s chief nurse, Viv Bennett, said: “We can all help women feel comfortable breastfeeding their baby wherever they are. Creating a wider culture of encouragement and support will help make a mother’s experience all the more positive.”
PHE has launched an interactive breastfeeding friend chatbot, accessed through Facebook messenger, to provide personal support for breastfeeding 24 hours a day. Bennett said it would help women through the “crucial” initial period, after which things generally became easier.
A study published in the Lancet last year found the UK had the lowest rate of breastfeeding in the world, with only one in 200 women breastfeeding their children after they reach their first birthday.
The WHO recommends that breastfeeding form part of a baby’s diet up to two years of age. As well as reducing the likelihood of babies getting diarrhoea and respiratory infections, breastfeeding also lowers a mother’s risk of ovarian and breast cancer and burns about 500 calories a day.
The results, published on Thursday, suggested high-profile figures who promote breastfeeding can have a positive influence on other mothers. Just under half of respondents said the example of household names such as The Only Way is Essex star Sam Faiers, broadcaster Fearne Cotton and actor Blake Lively, who have recently championed breastfeeding on social media, had inspired them to do so themselves. About two-thirds (64%) said they felt more confident to breastfeed in public because of celebrity mums.
Other concerns raised by more than half of women were not being able to tell if their baby was getting enough or too much milk and that it could potentially place restrictions on the mother.
Jacque Gerrard, the director for England at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “Any initiative that goes towards helping mothers start and sustain breastfeeding for longer is positive as we know the health benefits from being breastfed last a lifetime.”
Today alone I have had email contacts from Peru, the Netherlands, USA and Italy. It shows how the problems around breastfeeding on medication are the same all round the world. It is sad that so often breastfeeding mums are told they have to stop breastfeeding in order to be treated for chronic or acute illness – usually unnecesarily and not using evidence based resources
If you see breastfeeding mothers who need medication maybe you need to buy this book
Pharmacists can access evidence based training for free Pharmaceutical care of breastfeeding mothers rather than read material which is non evidence based and developed by the formula industry New infant feeding training online
Pharmacists can be as guilty as doctors in being influenced by the companies and inadvertently pass on negative messages about breastfeeding as described in this article Education and training of healthcare staff in the knowledge, attitudes and skills needed to work effectively with breastfeeding women: a systematic review
There are days when I despair at the information provided by my fellow professionals about infant feeding. Come on guys do some CPD on supporting breastfeeding mothers – it is a health issue and can save the NHS millions of pounds a year let alone morbidity and mortality of mothers and children.
Breastfeeding is a natural ‘safety net’ against the worst effects of poverty … Exclusive breastfeeding goes a long way toward cancelling out the health difference between being born into poverty and being born into affluence … It is almost as if breastfeeding takes the infant out of poverty for those first few months in order to give the child a fairer start in life and compensate for the injustice of the world into which it was born.
JAMES P. GRANT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF UNICEF (1980-1995)