01 July 2023

Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex when breastfeeding


Have you felt some very weird sensations/emotions when you are breastfeeding?

Do you suddenly think you are a terrible mother when you are breastfeeding your baby?

Do you think very negative thoughts when breastfeeding your baby?

Do you get very sad & feel really down when feeding?

Do these thoughts go away as soon as you stop?

If so, you may well be experiencing something called ‘Dysphoric milk ejection reflex’.  DMER

What is Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex?

DMER is a condition in which breastfeeding women suddenly start to develop very negative emotions.  These start just before the milk ejection reflex & can last a short while when you start feeding the baby.

It can also be felt when expressing milk – anything that involves the ejection of your breast milk.

It can make you feel sad, angry, useless – just very sudden and intense negative feelings.

It is NOT post-natal depression, it is a physical reflex resulting in brief psychological symptoms when the milk is released – called the ‘let down’.

What can you do?

If this is you, know that you are OK and it is a known symptom.

There are no treatments for DMER but they suggest trying the following:

  • Try focusing on something in your environment
  • Look out the window, at the birds, flowers, plants
  • Focus on a picture or photograph
  • Do deep breathing whilst focusing on something
  • Try skin to skin with your baby before you feed
  • Try listening to a podcast / watch TV
  • Some say try drinking cold water just before you start feeding
  • Find support. Find a lactation nurse/support group
  • Please talk about it with your GP, midwife, fellow mums.
  • Have a look at this organisation: https://d-mer.org/

Apparently, not much research has been done on it and women probably don’t talk about it, so though the research says about 5 – 9% of ladies experience this, it may be higher as women don’t know about it or are too scared to talk about it in case she is judged as being a bad mother!

I hadn’t heard of this until my Ibiza break last week.  We met a lovely mum, away with the girls for a little break.  She got chatting to my friends and me one evening and told us all about her experience.

She said she had it with her 1st baby but kept quiet and didn’t tell anyone as she was really afraid they would say she was depressed or a bad mother.

Then she met a nurse/midwife & she mentioned it to her. That midwife knew all about DMER & explained it all.  The mum we met also experienced it with her 2nd child too, but at least she knew about it and knew it was just something she would experience when feeding the baby.

Initially, DMER really affected her confidence as a new mum.  It got her down and all this self doubt when feeding was really hard.  No one had told her about it, so naturally she thought there was something wrong with her as a mother to have these feelings.

So please, share this post to knew mums – so many don’t talk about it, but it new mums should be made aware of DMER.  RAISE AWARENESS OF DMER.

Thank you

Self care post Nataly is important, read my other blogs: https://www.vickihill.co.uk/hormones-sleep-magnesium/

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