A mom suffering from postpartum depression needs to be aware of what treatments are compatible with breastfeeding. The good news is that breastfeeding reduces the likelihood a woman will have postpartum depression. According to Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, there are a number of home treatments moms can incorporate into their lifestyle as a starting point before pursuing medication. These home treatments may be all that are needed or they can be used in conjunction with medication prescribed by a healthcare provider. Home treatments include: breastfeeding, exercise, omega 3 fatty acids, St. John's Wort, and cognitive therapy. Consult your healthcare provider before consuming omega 3 fatty acids and St. John's Wort, as they may not be appropriate taken with certain medications and/or in certain health situations. Breastfeeding and exercise help reduce maternal stress and help with mood. The other treatments listed, in addition to anti-depressant medication, decrease depression due to their anti-inflammatory effect. If you ever a question about using a particular medication while breastfeeding, LactMed and Dr. Hale's InfantRisk Center are great resources. Also, hormonal and thyroid issues sometimes exhibit as depression, so consider asking your health care provider about tests for these.
In addition to home treatment and possibly medication, a Catholic mother can pray for Saint Dymphna's intercession. She is the patron saint of those suffering from nervous disorders or mental illness. Also, some mothers find the rosary soothing, because of its chant-like quality. Here are two book ideas that might provide comfort and practical help: Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach and Catholic Guide to Depression.