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Citalopram and breastfeeding

Especially over the past year of the pandemic many mothers are asking about the compatibility of citalopram during breastfeeding. It has been a hard time for everyone with the incidence of anxiety and depression continuing to rise. As access to IAPT ( https://www.england.nhs.uk/mental-health/adults/iapt/) may be more difficult the prescription of medication is inevitable. Alternative CBT access may be available on line via and IESO (https://www.iesohealth.com/en-gb)

Citalopram is widely used and we have a high level of experience with it over many years. It is the drug of choice if it has been used by the mother in the past.

Unfortunately many doctors are, in my experience, still recommending that mothers should stop breastfeeding in order to take antidepressants. This may be that they think life would be easier if someone else could help with care of the baby or that the mother may get more sleep. Sadly, this doesnt always happen and the loss of oxytocin may also lower mood further.

There is often an assumption that pressure to breastfeed can lead to depression but in my experience pressure to stop breastfeeding in order to take medication may increase depression and may also stop mothers accessing professional help to avoid having that discussion.

This link to the RCGP perinatal mental health toolkit may be useful for professionals and parents

RCGP perinatal mental health toolkit

This factsheet contains information from my book Breastfeeding and Medication. Please message me for references used or with any questions.

citalopram and breastfeeding factsheet

Breastfeeding and chronic medical conditions contains chapters on anxiety and depression

wendy@breastfeeding-and-medication.co.uk