Homeopathic Alternatives for Post-Partum Depression:
by Lauren Feder, M.D.

Shortly after I gave birth to my daughter I experienced the worst depression of my life. My psychologist suggested that I consider Prozac. I am breast-feeding and I don’t want to stop, but I can’t get myself to be happy. Is there a homeopathic medicine that you can recommend?

Fortunately, moms can take homeopathic remedies while nursing and not have to fear about it harming their babies. After birth it is not uncommon to experience mood swings, crying and depression. It can be due to the change in one's hormones and lifestyle, lack of sleep, etc. There are over 1000 remedies that that are currently available. For example, the following remedies, Ignatia and Sepia,may be used for post-partum depression.

Ignatia comes from the St. Ignatius Bean, a tall woody shrub. The seeds from the flowers are used to make the remedy. The seeds have a bitter taste, hence, the "Ignatia" mom is in a bitter mood. She is high strung, easily offended, and has problems sleeping. All in all, her symptoms tend to be out of proportion (even hysterical). Ignatia is used most often in the early stages after birth. In addition, Ignatia is a wonderful remedy used for recent losses, sorrows, and disappointments.
Sepia comes from the ink sac of the cuttlefish and has been used in photography (sepia tone). Sepia can be used more often in the long term stages following birth. The mom who could benefit from Sepia is feeling emotionally detached from children and dad (and does not know why). She lacks energy and feels better when she exercises. She is conscientious about her responsibilities but worn out caring for eveyone – she feels like being alone and getting away from it all. Physically, she is prone to genital herpes outbreaks, PMS, and often complains that she is sagging (i.e., face, belly, breasts etc.).

The homeopathic approach takes into account that everyone is different; so not all moms with postpartum problems are given the same remedy. Post partum depression can put a severe damper on a new mom's experience and interfere with breast-feeding. Homeopathic medicine is safe and effective, without the side effects of standard medicine. Remedies can be used safely during breastfeeding.