Is Wellbutrin Safe While Breastfeeding?

WellbutrinMental health, especially after having a baby is extremely important for everyone in the home. For some to manage their mental health means taking medications to keep everything in check.

This is in no way a bad thing, but there are some considerations for new moms who are also considering breastfeeding as well.

New parents might have some questions such as what medications are safe when breastfeeding that won’t affect the newborn.

As we know, breast milk has the potential to transmit different things that mom ingests to the child (such as caffeine, which this new mom learned the hard way). So it’s no question that parents might be concerned.

However, this article is to help you determine if you can continue to breastfeed while taking Wellbutrin and if there are any considerations when taking the medication.

What is Wellbutrin? Basic Information and Uses

Wellbutrin is its stage name and Bupropion is its medicinal name. Generally, this is used to treat depression.[1]

It’s also being used to treat other mental health issues such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and also bipolar disorder as well.[2]

These are amazing uses and keeping them under control when having a new little one can be paramount to making the transition from pregnant to mom status.

What the medication actually does is “moderate the levels and activity of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine .”[3]

This is important because some of the symptoms of depression such as not being interested, inability to sleep (and sleep, whenever you can get it as a new parent is essential), and an inability to concentrate[4] can affect the bonding process with the baby and how happy you feel during what should be a great time.

Now that we know what the drug is utilized for, let’s take a look at its general safety during breastfeeding. As always, if you find that you are taking a medication and it’s affecting you negatively, speak with your doctor.

Also if you are concerned about how you are feeling and don’t currently take anything, again, speak with a professional.

Depression, Post-Partum Depression, anxiety, these are things that are normal, just not well spoken about.

Don’t ever be ashamed or feel out of place if you have to go to speak with someone or take medications. Being healthy, physically and/or mentally is important for everyone.

One important thing to remember though if you are taking Wellbutrin prior too pregnancy, during pregnancy, or when you are breastfeeding, it is important to note that you should not quit the medication cold turkey without speaking with your doctor and being tapered off.

It’s been known that symptoms of withdrawal from Wellbutrin can be dizziness, stomach issues, anxiety,[5] and other serious emotional side effects.

These are things that you don’t want to deal with in addition to starting or growing the size of your family, so make sure to do it the safe way.

Is it Safe While Breastfeeding?

It is said that the medication is not inherently dangerous to babies and that while a small amount does pass through the milk to the infant if the mother is taking the amount that she is supposed to it should not be harmful.[6]

That being said, the manufacturer recommends finding an alternative solution while breastfeeding considering that 6-percent of the medication does pass to the infant.[7]

However, again, most don’t report any negative side effects in their infant, which is why many continue to take it while breastfeeding.

The pros outweigh the cons for many women because in able to parent they need to keep their mental health in check.

One option that they do recommend is that instead of taking the daily dose of Wellbutrin (however often that may be) after breastfeeding, which minimizes the transfer into the breast milk.

The longer the timeframe between the medication and the nursing will decrease the amount that is transferred to the infant.

There are Always Exceptions

While it is safe for most babies, there are always exceptions to everything. For those who have premature babies and those that are prone to seizures, the infant could experience an increase in the seizures, and when the medication is stopped, generally the seizures do as well.[8]

This is always something to be considered. However, there aren’t enough studies currently out to come up with solid information.

When you are breastfeeding and still taking Wellbutrin, there are some things that you can watch out for in your infant such as vomiting, diarrhea, jitteriness, and/or sedation.[9]

If none of these things are happening then you should be safe and so should your baby, however, if you notice any of these side effects in your infant, a call to your doctor as soon as possible is warranted.

At this point, they can offer other solutions such as a different medication. There are plenty of options before it’s determined that breastfeeding should be terminated.

Final Thoughts

While there are pros and cons to everything, one this that is important is the health of mother and child. Wellbutrin could be the difference between being mentally healthy and stable during the postpartum period and literally falling apart in every way.

For many, this is a non-issue and they will be willing to take the medication in order to stay healthy. If you are taking Wellbutrin and are breastfeeding, just be sure to watch for adverse symptoms in yourself and your baby and don’t stop cold turkey.

Speak with your doctor and your child’s pediatrician first to come up with the best game plan for you to remain healthy.

Breastfeeding is a beautiful thing, as is feeding a baby with formula, so just know, that whatever the outcome is and whatever your decision is, as long as you and the baby are healthy that’s all that’s important.

References

  1. Wellbutrin (Bupropion)-Side Effects, Dosage, Interactions – Drugs. [Link]
  2. See Above #1
  3. See Above #1
  4. Janice Rodden. Wellbutrin [Link]
  5. Mother to Baby. Bupropion (Wellbutrin) Fact Sheets. [Link]
  6. See Above #5
  7. Baby Med. Wellbutrin During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. [Link]
  8. See Above #5
  9. Drugs. Bupropion Use While Breastfeeding. [Link]
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