Can You Take Zoloft While Breastfeeding?

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Breastfeeding is one of the most natural and valuable gifts a mother can give her child. Not only does it provide essential nourishment and emotional support, but also it delivers crucial antibodies that help with your baby’s development. But what happens if a mother lives with depression or anxiety and needs to take prescription medications such as Zoloft while breastfeeding? Is doing so safe? This article explores how Zoloft affects breastfeeding mothers and answers many patients’ questions, including ‘can you take Zoloft while breastfeeding?’

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Zoloft and Breastfeeding

Zoloft is commonly prescribed to treat depression and other mood disorders. It works by regulating the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, which can positively affect mental well-being. However, while this medication offers many benefits, one side effect is that it can be passed through milk from the breast.

Studies show that only a tiny amount of Zoloft is present in milk from the breast, which makes the antidepressant the first line of treatment for women who are breastfeeding. However, it is essential to note that there is still much debate on the drug’s safety, and further studies must be conducted before conclusions can be made.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) prescribes that if a mother is considering taking Zoloft while breastfeeding, she should discuss the risks and benefits with her doctor. She should also weigh the risks of taking Zoloft with the risk of not treating her depression or anxiety.

How Zoloft Works

Zoloft, also known as sertraline hydrochloride, is an FDA-approved antidepressant that works by increasing the amount of serotonin within the brain. Serotonin is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood. When serotonin levels within the brain are too low, it can cause symptoms of depression.

Zoloft, like other serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), helps by blocking serotonin-transmitting neuronal receptors to increase its availability in the synaptic area between neurons and thus restore balance in brain chemistry.

As this balance is returned, depressive or anxious symptoms may be decreased or wholly relieved depending on the individual.

Can You Take Zoloft While Breastfeeding?

Whether Zoloft is safe to take can be a worry for breastfeeding women treating postpartum depression. The good news is that this antidepressant is usually considered low-risk for nursing babies, but caution should still be exercised.

It is essential to discuss any medication use with a doctor or pharmacist before using it, especially if the mother feels anxious about its safety for her baby.

Zoloft does pass through milk in the breast and can enter the baby’s system, so mothers should carefully monitor their infant’s health in case of any adverse effects from exposure. However, with proper due diligence and guidance from medical professionals, breastfeeding mothers can enjoy relief from their symptoms and peace of mind that Zoloft is likely a safe option for them and their little ones.

Plus, when the benefits outweigh the risks, breastfeeding mothers can be assured that they are providing their babies with the nourishment and support they need while caring for their mental health.

What Are the Adverse Effects of Zoloft for Your Baby and You?

While Zoloft doesn’t have long-term effects for lactating women and is generally considered safe, there are some potential side effects. Breastfeeding mothers taking Zoloft may experience the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Appetite loss
  • Decrease in breastmilk production
  • Nausea

There are very few or not enough studies to link any of these side effects to the baby, but there are reported cases of babies having diarrhea when exposed to Zoloft through a mother’s milk. Therefore, it is essential to constantly converse with a physician before taking any medications while breastfeeding.

Does Zoloft Pass Into Breast Milk?

The transfer of Zoloft from a mother to her baby through breastmilk is generally believed to be minimal. However, there isn’t enough scientific data to determine whether the drug poses any health risks for infants.

Most healthcare professionals agree that there’s usually little cause for concern, and Zoloft can be taken while breastfeeding without significant risk. However, a mother is still advised to consult her doctor or pharmacist before making decisions regarding her medication plan.

How Much Zoloft Is Safe While Breastfeeding?

There are not enough studies to answer this question definitively. However, the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM) recommends that women take the smallest dose of Zoloft needed to manage their symptoms.

ABM reports that, to avoid any adverse effects and minimize the amount of medication that enters breastmilk, start with a dosage of 25 mg for five to seven days. After that, gradually increase to 50 mg per day. But, of course, this method depends on the individual.

If you experience any side effects or do not achieve the desired result, it may be necessary to alter the dosage or switch to another antidepressant altogether. Again, consulting with a doctor is essential for a postpartum care plan.

When Is Zoloft Highest in Breastmilk?

After taking the medication, levels of sertraline (Zoloft’s active ingredient) peak in a mother’s milk between one and nine hours. Due to its long half-life (the time it takes for the body to remove half its original amount), it can stay in a mother’s system for 24 hours afterward.

The lowest levels of sertraline are detected two hours before a new dose is taken, meaning it is safest for the baby to breastfeed.

Zoloft Side Effects on Breastfeeding Babies

There are no reported side effects on breastfeeding babies specifically associated with Zoloft. As mentioned above, diarrhea may be a symptom in some cases, but this is extremely rare.

Mothers taking Zoloft should watch their infant’s sucking behavior to ensure they get enough milk. In addition, since Zoloft can temporarily decrease a mother’s milk supply, it is vital to keep an eye on the number of wet diapers produced daily.

Mothers should contact their doctors for further advice if the baby experiences unusual symptoms, such as fussiness or changes in their sleep patterns.

When used correctly and with the advice of a medical expert, Zoloft can be an effective medication while breastfeeding. However, it is essential to remember that each person’s circumstances are unique and must be looked at very carefully.

Zoloft and Breastfeeding Long-term Effects

It’s important to note that experts have no consensus on the long-term effects of taking Zoloft while breastfeeding. Although researchers have not found any significant health risks associated with short-term use of the drug, its impact on a baby’s growth and development isn’t well understood beyond that.

Therefore, it is highly suggested that breastfeeding women take the lowest dose possible for only as long as necessary. Ultimately, this may lead to a safer situation for both mother and child.

Lactating women must also pay attention to their well-being. If Zoloft is causing significant distress or problematic side effects, mothers should not hesitate to seek medical help and discuss alternative treatments if necessary.

Best Time of Day To Take Zoloft While Breastfeeding

Zoloft is generally taken once per day, so it is best to take it at the same time each day. However, most health practitioners suggest taking the medication in the morning or night, depending on what works best for the patient.

Since Zoloft may cause drowsiness or dizziness, it is also essential to take it when the mother can rest and not be interrupted, so evening might be the best time for some. It is also usually recommended to take it an hour before taking the pill or two hours after eating a meal.

When taking Zoloft while breastfeeding, following the doctor’s instructions and taking the medication as prescribed to decrease potential risks is crucial.

Best Time To Nurse if Mother Is on Zoloft

Again, it is best to nurse an hour or two before the next dose of Zoloft. This allows for the lowest levels of sertraline in the breastmilk and minimizes any potential risk to the baby.

For mothers who have difficulty timing their medication and nursing, setting alarms or reminders on a phone, computer, or tablet can help them stay on track.

Mothers should also consider using a safe storage container to store their medication if they cannot keep it while out and about with the baby. This will ensure that Zoloft is taken each day simultaneously and that any potential risks to the baby are minimized.

Antidepressants That Are Safe for Breastfeeding

When transitioning from pregnancy to parenthood, many new mothers face a difficult decision when dealing with postpartum depression. Thankfully, there are safe and effective medications for women struggling with mental health issues during such a critical time.

Several antidepressants have been identified as acceptable to take while breastfeeding.


Citalopram is an effective antidepressant that is relatively safe for nursing mothers. In addition, research has shown that it can help boost mood, ease anxiety, and improve sleep.

Studies show that small amounts of citalopram pass through the milk, reducing the risk of harm to the baby. However, there are reported side effects such as restlessness, vomiting, and fussiness in infants.


Paroxetine is a powerful tool in the treatment of depression, often recommended to those whose other treatments haven’t been successful. As a bonus, its side effects have been found to pose a low risk to infants when taken by nursing mothers. This can be a significant relief for those considering the usage of Paroxetine while breastfeeding since the safety of their baby is an understandable concern.

It may not work for everyone suffering from depression, but if breastfeeding mothers tried other routes first and needed something more, Paroxetine could be a great option to explore.


No adverse effects are found on infants when their mothers take Nortriptyline while breastfeeding. It is a safe and effective treatment for postpartum depression.

Additionally, this medication may have fewer side effects than other antidepressants, making it a good option for those looking to reduce the potential risks their child might experience.

For breastfeeding mothers considering antidepressants, it is vital to communicate with a healthcare provider and be aware of potential side effects. Additionally, it’s integral that the baby does not experience problems correlated with the medication. When equipped with this knowledge, nursing moms can decide how to address postpartum depression and which drugs are safest for them and their children.

Can You Take Zoloft While Breastfeeding: Conclusion

Multiple studies have ascertained that breastfeeding mothers taking Zoloft can do so without risking their baby’s well-being. However, to ensure the safety of mother and child alike, it is best for nursing moms to consult with a medical professional about any adjustments in dosage or medication regimes as well as report any side effects or behavioral changes that their pediatrician observes.

Because of the small amount of sertraline in a mother’s milk, most clinicians agree that Zoloft is likely compatible with breastfeeding. But because the long-term effects on nursing babies may be unknown, moms should weigh the potential risks of continuing to take Zoloft while they breastfeed against any benefits.

Ultimately, each woman must make an informed choice as to whether or not Zoloft suits her specific situation while breastfeeding.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below are some of the most common questions about taking Zoloft while breastfeeding.

When a nursing mother considers taking medication, it is best to consult a doctor or lactation specialist for guidance. Fortunately, studies have found that Zoloft is usually safe to take while breastfeeding without any adverse effects on the baby.

While sertraline has been detected in breast milk at low levels, no reports of adverse events in the infant have been reported. However, it is still essential to monitor the baby if a mother is taking Zoloft while breastfeeding. They must watch for changes in their behavior, skin reactions, or digestive activity.

With their doctor’s approval and close monitoring, women can take Zoloft while breastfeeding with minimal risk, making it a practical treatment option for new moms facing depression or anxiety.

Taking Zoloft while breastfeeding is possible if advised by a healthcare professional and should be approached carefully. Not all medications are safe for breastfeeding mothers, so it is recommended to speak with a doctor or healthcare professional before attempting any new medications. Even if everything appears to be going well, if a mother notices any changes in her baby’s behavior or physical health while taking the drug, she should contact their doctor immediately.

In the end, healthcare professionals are your most reliable source of information when determining if taking Zoloft while nursing suits you. This is because they have the resources to evaluate each case and accurately weigh its benefits and risks.

Limited studies are available to assess breastfeeding and psychiatric medications like Zoloft, but no issues have been reported in babies exposed to sertraline through breast milk. There are a few reported cases of diarrhea but no reports of any adverse effects. However, it is still important to note that the amount of sertraline transferred through breast milk is very small, so mothers should not expect a noticeable result in their babies when taking Zoloft while breastfeeding.

Mothers should be aware of any potential decreases in milk supply from taking Zoloft while breastfeeding. This is usually due to the drug’s sedative effect, so it is crucial to monitor the baby’s eating patterns and alert the doctor if you notice a decrease in appetite or weight gain.

The dangers associated with getting pregnant while on antidepressants vary depending on the type of drug and its dosage. Generally speaking, studies have found that pregnant women taking certain classes of antidepressants had an increased risk for preterm birth, lower birth weight infants, and congenital malformations.

Additionally, some research has suggested that some types of antidepressants could affect long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes in exposed children. As a result, if a woman is pregnant or trying to get pregnant, it is essential to talk to her doctor about her treatment options and make sure they take into account both her mental health needs and the safety of her unborn child.

Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy often lead to an increase in mental health issues, resulting in six to eight percent of pregnant American women taking or being prescribed antidepressants. In addition, hormonal imbalances during pregnancy can be complicated to manage, leading to a higher risk of depression for some. Depression can also lead to other physical and mental health issues for the mother and baby if not adequately addressed.

Antidepressants help pregnant women manage the anxiety and stress associated with those changes, allowing them to be more engaged in their pregnancy journey and ultimately make better decisions for their overall health.

Additionally, when taken under guidance from a medical professional, antidepressants provide a safe way of managing symptoms while avoiding further risks or harm to the baby’s development.

During pregnancy, women must take note of their mental state and seek help if they experience depression or anxiety. In addition, women should not hesitate to open up about any mental health issues they may face during this time.

As much as eight percent of American pregnant women take or are prescribed antidepressants. SSRIs are usually the first-line treatment for pregnant women, and Zoloft is a popular option as it is generally considered safe during pregnancy when taken as prescribed.

Celexa, also known for its safety during pregnancy, is similar in effectiveness to Zoloft. Pregnant women should speak to their doctor about their needs to make the best decision for themselves and their babies.

It is essential to remember that no medication should be taken lightly during pregnancy; therefore, expectant mothers must always consult a medical expert before beginning or continuing any drug while expecting.

Further, they should watch for potential adverse side effects and contact their doctor immediately if something feels wrong.

Taking any drug carries risks, and using Zoloft and ecstasy together is no exception. Both drugs act on serotonin receptors in the brain, meaning that when someone takes them together, the effects are intensified, potentially leading to an increased risk of developing serotonin syndrome.

Symptoms of this condition can include agitation, confusion, overwhelming tiredness, fever, sweating, shakiness, or muscle cramps. Severe cases may even result in seizures or coma, making it essential to seek medical help immediately if any of these symptoms arise.

In general, SSRIs and atypical antidepressants such as bupropion are considered among the safest choices for breastfeeding mothers. However, it is essential to discuss any concerns with a doctor or pediatrician regarding potential risks associated with antidepressants during lactation.

In addition, mothers may need to breastfeed between doses of medication when starting or increasing the amount of an antidepressant to reduce infant exposure—taking time to assess the usage of antidepressants. At the same time, breastfeeding can ensure healthy development for both the mother and the baby.

While pregnant women often consult a physician or OB/GYN for safe antidepressant treatment options, breastfeeding mothers should also seek medical advice before beginning an antidepressant regimen. Without the guidance of a doctor, it can be challenging to know which medications are safest while nursing an infant.

Zoloft and Celexa are two possibilities known to cause minimal side effects in nursing babies and are usually recommended by doctors as the best antidepressant choice for breastfeeding mothers.

However, no one should begin taking a new medication without consulting with their medical professional first. Such precautions early on can help prevent unnecessary health risks for the mother and the child.

There are not enough research studies analyzing the effects of Zoloft on babies, so it is hard to say definitively whether taking it during pregnancy or when breastfeeding can cause any direct harm to an infant.

That said, some evidence suggests taking Zoloft or other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) during pregnancy can increase the risk of congenital disabilities and low birth weight. Further studies are needed to explore this potential link in more detail.

Nursing mothers taking Zoloft may transfer small amounts of the medication to their babies through breast milk, which can have minimal effects on infants. Unfortunately, there needs to be more understanding surrounding the long-term implications associated with this exposure method.

As discussed previously, Zoloft can transfer to the infant through milk from the breast. Most studies show that it is typically at its highest concentration within one to nine hours after taking a dose, although levels may fluctuate throughout the day.

It is vital to take precautions when breastfeeding an infant and taking Zoloft or any other medication. For example, mothers should try not to breastfeed within one to nine hours after ingestion and may need to adjust their daily routine accordingly. Moreover, mothers should consult with a physician or healthcare provider when considering any medications to safeguard the health of both mother and infant.

Last but not least, Zoloft can interact with other medications, so mothers should be aware of any potential side effects and alert their healthcare provider if they occur. To ensure their and their children’s safety, being mindful of possible drug interactions is critical.

While the short-term effects of taking sertraline while breastfeeding are generally positive, nursing mothers need to educate themselves on the potential long-term effects.

Sertraline works as an antidepressant by increasing serotonin levels in the brain, which can provide much-needed relief from mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. However, some research suggests that taking sertraline while breastfeeding lowers milk production and may sometimes cause diarrhea in some nursing babies.

There are not enough studies to determine if all antidepressants are safe while breastfeeding. Pregnant women who take antidepressants should be aware that the medication can cause several side effects in their babies. Such side effects may include jitteriness, irritability, and poor sleeping patterns.

Both nursing mothers and pregnant women may need to consult a doctor before taking any medication. Doctors can provide personalized advice on which drugs are safest while breastfeeding and should be considered when weighing the pros and cons of antidepressant use.

The bottom line is that women should always discuss their mental health concerns with a doctor. This helps them make an informed decision regarding their treatment plans while breastfeeding.

The content on Doctor Alexa’s blog is reviewed by Advanced practice registered nurses or pharmacist and is intended for educational purposes only. This information should not be relied upon as professional medical counsel. Be sure to always consult with your physician about the dangers and benefits of any medication, treatment or procedure.

You shouldn’t wait to see the doctor for simple health needs.