Weight Gain in Breastfed Infants of Mothers Taking Antidepressant Medications
J Clin Psychiatry 2003;64(4):410-412
© Copyright 2014 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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Background: Little is known about the
physical development of infants who are exposed to antidepressant
medications through breast milk.
Method: Seventy-eight breastfeeding women
taking antidepressant medications were included in the study.
Maternal mood was prospectively evaluated at 6, 12, and 18 months
postpartum. Infants' weights were obtained from review of
pediatric records. Data were gathered from 1997 to 2002.
Results: Infants' weights were not
significantly different from weights of 6-month-old breastfed
infants from normative populations. However, infants of mothers
who relapsed to relatively long-lasting major depressive episodes
(lasting 2 months or more) following delivery weighed
significantly (p = .002) less when compared with infants of
mothers who relapsed to brief depressive episodes (< 2 months)
and infants of mothers who did not relapse to depression in the
postpartum period. This finding remained after including
medication dosage and infant birth weight as covariates.
Conclusion: Exposure to antidepressant
medications through breast milk does not appear to affect
infants' weight. However, infants exposed to maternal depression
lasting 2 months or more appear to experience significantly lower
weight gain than infants of euthymic mothers or mothers who
experience brief (< 2 months) major depressive episodes.
Maternal depression following delivery may influence behaviors
that, over the course of 2 months or more, affect infants' weight