Depression Home > Tricyclic Antidepressants and Breastfeeding

If you are taking tricyclic antidepressants and breastfeeding at the same time, it is important to know that the medication may pass through your breast milk. However, some sources suggest that the risk to the fetus is low, although the full risks are not known. Therefore, if you do decide to breastfeed your baby while taking tricyclic antidepressants, be sure to watch for any changes in your baby, such as excessive tiredness, decreased feeding, or weight loss.

Tricyclic Antidepressants and Breastfeeding: An Overview

All tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) either pass through breast milk or are likely to pass through breast milk (they have not been studied in women who are breastfeeding). Due to the possible harmful effects that tricyclic antidepressants might have on the breastfeeding infant, you should talk with your healthcare provider before taking a tricyclic antidepressant while breastfeeding.

Tricyclic Antidepressants and Breastfeeding: What Does the Research Say?

There is very little information about the safety of using most tricyclic antidepressants while breastfeeding. However, some sources suggest the risk to the fetus is low, although the full risks are not known.
If your healthcare provider recommends that you take a tricyclic antidepressant while breastfeeding, be sure to watch for the following signs in your baby:
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Decreased feeding
  • Weight loss.
These may be signs that your baby is getting too much of the tricyclic antidepressant, and your healthcare provider may need to decrease your dose or recommend a different depression medication. You may also be advised to stop breastfeeding, especially in the case of severe symptoms in the baby.

Talking With Your Healthcare Provider About Tricyclic Antidepressants and Breastfeeding

You should talk with your healthcare provider about tricyclic antidepressants and breastfeeding. This is because everyone's situation is different, and your healthcare provider understands your situation best. Based on what you want and expect (and your current health situation), you and your healthcare provider can make a shared decision about tricyclic antidepressants and breastfeeding in your particular situation.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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