Every time I would nurse Ellie, I felt my stomach drop and a wave of anxiousness come over me. Though I hated the feeling, I came to expect it every time I breast fed my newborn daughter. A few seconds into the nursing sessions the feelings would end. I never asked anyone about these feelings because I thought it was normal. However, this time I took note and decided to find out why these negative emotions happened when I started nursing.
Where Did This Negative Feelings Come From?
I thought it somehow was related to postpartum depression / anxiety, so I did a little digging. What I found was that I was experiencing D-MER (Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex)
According to D-MER.org, “Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex is a condition affecting lactating women that is characterized by an abrupt dysphoria, or negative emotions, that occur just before milk release and continuing not more than a few minutes.” This is a physiological response (not a psychological response) that appears to be tied to a sudden decrease in the brain chemical dopamine immediately before milk let-down. Source
After I discovered that what I was feeling was real and I could put a name to it (D-MER), I felt like a weight was lifted off of me.
D-MER Is Not:
- is not a psychological response to breastfeeding.
- is not nausea with letdown or any other isolated physical manifestation.
- is not postpartum depression or a postpartum mood disorder.
- is not a general dislike of breastfeeding.
- is not the “breastfeeding aversion” that can happen to some mothers when nursing while pregnant or when nursing older toddlers. Source
Different Intensities of D-MER
My experience with D-MER was mild. However, Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex can have different intensities. You can go to D-Mer.Org to see where you fall on the spectrum.
How Did I Treat My Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex?
I made it my mission to prevent postpartum depression and anxiety this time around. Though, D-MER isn’t postpartum depression some of the natural treatments I used for my postpartum self care, were used to help my D-MER. I used diet, exercise, spiritual care, and supplements to help treat myself.
- Dietary Changes – I upped my intake of green vegetables. I also added a nutritional shake to my morning smoothies.
- Exercise – I haven’t started heavy lifting yet, but I have been doing step aerobics at home. I found that doing at least 30 minutes a day really helps me.
- Spiritual Care – It is essential for me to spend quiet time alone in the morning to read my bible and journal my thoughts and prayers. Releasing my fears and worries really as contributed to my well being.
- Sleep – I must get 8 hours.
- Supplements – I’ve added 3 supplements to my diet that I really feel help me. I take Vitamin D3, Cod Liver Oil, and a Prenatal Multivitamin.
To see more natural treatments visit D-Mer.org.
Since making these lifestyle changes I’ve notice less “flare ups” of both D-MER and my postpartum depression/anxiety. Most days are good, but there are still days when I’m not at my best. However, I give myself grace and realize that the next day is a new day to do better.
**Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. This post is not giving medical advice, I’m just sharing my experience with D-MER. If you need treatment please seek treatment from a doctor”.