Sitting on a chair in the living room, the new mom watches as her baby boy breastfeeds.

Some parents breastfeed, some parents use formula, and some parents do a mix of both. According to the CDC, only 1 in 4 babies drink breast milk only for their first 6 months of life. Breastfeeding is recommended and has health benefits for your baby. There are many reasons why a person may or may not choose to breastfeed including their own needs, their baby’s needs, and other factors like what is common in their culture. Checking in with your obstetric provider and your baby’s pediatrician can provide helpful guidance. 

Breastfeeding an infant can affect your mood. Some people may experience breastfeeding as an emotionally positive experience, while others may find it brings their mood down. There has been mixed research about breastfeeding and postpartum depression. Some research shows that breastfeeding is protective against developing depression, whereas other research suggests that breastfeeding may increase the risk for depression in some people. Talk to your COMPASS Coordinator if you have concerns about your mood.

Myths and Automatic Unhelpful Thoughts

  • “Breastfeeding comes easily to everyone else”: Many lactating people have challenges breastfeeding, and learning what works best for you and your baby can take time.
  • “I’m a bad parent if I don’t breastfeed”: Whether you breastfeed or not is not a reflection of your ability to be a present, caring, and loving parent. Some parents who have had difficulty with breastfeeding report that they feel more present with their baby after they stop putting pressure on themselves to breastfeed. 
  • “Breast is best”: Breastfeeding can boost your baby’s health and development and provide protection against certain infections. However, your baby can be healthily fed and nourished with formula. 

FAQs and Resources

  1. What if I try breastfeeding and it doesn’t go well?
    If you have questions, concerns, or curiosities about breastfeeding, you may want to reach out to a lactation consultant.
  2. Can I take medications for my mood while breastfeeding?
    It is important to think about the risks and benefits of taking medication or not taking medication for your mood. Most medications used for mental health are safe with breastfeeding. Your COMPASS Coordinator can help facilitate this conversation with a COMPASS psychiatrist and/or your obstetric provider to help you make the decision that’s best for you.
  3. Are there support groups for lactating people?
    Yes! Please check out our community resources.