Attention A T users. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Please switch auto forms mode to off. 2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc). 3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow. You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.

Mental Health

Quick Links
Veterans Crisis Line Badge
My healthevet badge

Breastfeeding and mental health

female veteran outside drinking coffee

Women Veterans

Breastfeeding and mental health

Breastfeeding can prompt a wide range of emotional reactions in women, from feeling relaxed, calm and connected to their baby to feeling stressed, depressed and burdened. Sometimes, women feel overwhelmed if they breastfeed but guilty if they don’t. Some women who have experienced sexual trauma find that normal sensations of breastfeeding bring back memories of the trauma, such that breastfeeding leads to intense anxiety.

Protecting the mother’s well-being — regardless of whatever personal decision she makes about breastfeeding — is vital in helping babies thrive. There are specific types of counseling and breastfeeding support that can help women who are deciding whether to breastfeed as well as women who want to breastfeed but find it challenging because of depression, anxiety, trauma or another reason.

For more information, consider speaking with your primary care provider or mental health clinician .

Related Links

Newsletter Sign Up

Receive monthly emails about the latest mental health and suicide prevention resources and research from VA.

Help for Homeless Veterans: 877-4AID-VET
 VA Health Care: Apply Now
Caregiver Support: 855-260-3274
eBenefits: My Gateway to Benefit Information
Find out if you’re eligible: Health Benefits Explorer
Veterans Health Benefits Guide
Veterans Health Library
Women Veterans Call Center: 1-855-VA-WOMEN