Mental Health

Mood changes associated with breastfeeding – are they common?

Mood changes are very common after having a baby. It is one of the things we as GPs look out for when we do your postnatal check at around 6 weeks. Most of the time it is managed with supportive measures, but sometimes medication is needed, and in some cases it can be very severe and more intensive treatment is needed.

I have also met women who struggle with mood and anxiety issues relating to breastfeeding – either because they are struggling to manage it, or when they decide to move on from breastfeeding. When you stop breastfeeding there are hormonal changes that take place, not to mention the emotional changes associated with the end of that very close bonding time. If you are experiencing anxiety or mood changes during this time, you are definitely not alone!

I usually recommend psychological therapies in these situations. Cognitive behavioural therapy is very effective in treating anxiety and mild/moderate mood changes. The NHS does offer these services, but it can vary throughout the country. Speak to your GP surgery as often these services can be accessed via a self-referral process meaning you don’t need to see your GP first.

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