Pros and Cons of Taking Prozac and Nursing a Toddler

Susie McGee
Closeup image of a toddler boy
Are you taking any medications that might be dangerous for your toddler?

Is taking Prozac and nursing a toddler a safe combination? For some women, Prozac is a miracle worker. Without it, they simply cannot function in a full and healthy manner. However, if they are breastfeeding, they want to make sure that anything they ingest into their body is safe for their baby.

What Is Prozac?

Prozac is a medication which doctors often prescribe in order to treat depression. It is also used to treat obsessive compulsive disorders and eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia.

Prozac's generic name is fluoxetine. This medication belongs to a class of antidepressants referred to as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs. There have been many studies regarding the usage of Prozac while pregnant. There haven't been any significant conclusions drawn, however. Scientists continue to study the effects of this drug on fertility.

Prozac While Nursing a Toddler

Doctors continue to study the relationship between Prozac and nursing a toddler. Studies show that Prozac is found in breast milk in a ratio of 10 to 20 percent of the amount of the drug found in a mom's milk. Peak levels of the drug typically show up in a mother's milk within the first six hours.

While many doctors and scientists agree that the pros of taking Prozac vastly outweigh the cons, there are cases of irregularities for mothers who took Prozac and continued breastfeeding. These may include the following:

  • Decreased sleep
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritability
  • Colic
  • Decrease in weight gain

Pros versus Cons

With so many questions still remaining about the use of Prozac and nursing toddlers, why would women take a chance? The answer is actually simple. Prozac can make the difference between spending a healthy, happy day with your baby as opposed to spending a day of not being in control of your emotional health.

Many women battle the "baby blues" which can turn into full-blown post-partum depression. These women can't eat or sleep. In fact, the more severe cases can barely function. Because they are unable to take care of themselves, they certainly can't cope with a crying baby or whining toddler. Prozac, if taken correctly and under a doctor's care, can turn their world from a place of despair to a place of joy.

Many women simply can't imagine handling the day to day stresses of life without this drug. For some, the simplest option is to wean their babies off the breast. For others, however, the benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh the risks associated with taking Prozac.

What to Do?

If you are considering taking Prozac, speak with your doctor first. It may be tempting to try it out by borrowing a few pills from a friend or from some other source, but don't. Instead, discuss the issue with your doctor and your child's pediatrician. In some cases, doctors recommend another drug such as Zoloft, which could provide the same relief with lesser symptoms.

If you are happy taking Prozac, but still worry about how the drug will affect your nursing toddler, talk to your doctor about reducing the amount of Prozac you take. The best decision is an informed one, and only you and your doctor have the right to make any changes to your daily diet and prescription intake. Doing what's right for your baby also involves keeping yourself healthy, both physically and emotionally!

Pros and Cons of Taking Prozac and Nursing a Toddler