Pros and Cons of Taking Prozac and Nursing a Toddler

Julie Kirk
Baby boy being breastfeeding fed

Is taking Prozac (fluoxetine) and breastfeeding a safe combination? For some women, Prozac is a miracle worker. Without it, they simply cannot function in a complete 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.

Prozac While Nursing a Toddler

Doctors continue to study the relationship between Prozac and nursing a toddler. It has been found that Prozac is a relatively safe medication when used during breastfeeding. Any medication that is taken by a nursing mother will be found in her breast milk, however, there is no evidence that suggests Prozac would pose any risk to the nursing child. The amount of the medication that the child actually receives is typically less than 10 percent of the amount found in the mother's blood.

Therefore, it is generally believed that the risk is much higher if the nursing mom's depression goes untreated than the risk that is associated with a small amount of antidepressant found in her breast milk.

Pros of Taking Prozac While Breastfeeding

The pros associated with taking Prozac while breastfeeding include:

  • Prozac is helpful in treating postpartum depression and/or depression that was diagnosed prior to giving birth.
  • Prozac is considered a relatively safe medication to take while breastfeeding.
  • 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 doctors and scientists agree that the pros of taking Prozac vastly outweigh the cons.

Cons of Taking Prozac While Breastfeeding

The cons associated with taking Prozac while breastfeeding include:

  • There is a slight chance your breastfed child may experience irritability, vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness and a decrease in weight.
  • Mom may experience side effects such as sweating, anxiety, nausea, and abnormal dreams.
  • According to a recent study, the amount of Prozac found in the mom's breast milk is higher than with other antidepressants.

What Is Prozac?

Prozac is a medication which doctors often prescribe in order to treat depression. It is also used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorders, eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

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 over the years regarding the use of Prozac while pregnant. There haven't been any significant conclusions drawn, however, and further research is warranted. Scientists also continue to study the effects of this drug on fertility.

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 this, of course, is highly discouraged. Instead, discuss the issue with your doctor and your child's pediatrician.

Another Option?

In some cases, doctors may recommend another drug such as Zoloft, which has become the preferred choice of antidepressant for nursing mothers since it can provide the same relief with lesser symptoms and there is a smaller amount of the medication found in the mother's breast milk than with Prozac.

Make an Informed Decision

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