Negative Emotions During Letdown

A small amount of breastfeeding mothers will feel nauseous in the first few weeks that they are breastfeeding. If you experience nausea while breastfeeding, it should go away within six to eight weeks. If you are still feeling nauseous after two months, there are a few possibilities you should look into. The first is the option of pregnancy. The second is to evaluate if what your feeling truly is just nausea or if it is a feeling of negativity, depression, homesickness, despair, or sadness. If you are experiencing any or all of these emotions while breastfeeding, you could have Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex. (D-MER) D-MER is a relatively new term, described and named in 2008 by Alia Macrina Heise, a lactation counselor, and postpartum doula. Since the discovery of D-MER is so new, there has not been a lot of research on what causes it, or how to treat D-MER. There are however a few tips that have worked for moms who have experienced D-MER. If you experience D-MER with one child, you may not experience it while breastfeeding subsequent children.

D-MER is associated with negative feelings, just before your milk lets down, and disappearing within a few minutes. D-MER is related to poor dopamine activity during milk ejection. Dopamine is a hormone that normally causes happy feels. During a breastmilk let down, levels of dopamine drop to allow for breast milk production. For some moms, a chemical glitch could cause a steeper drop in dopamine levels, and thus cause the negative emotions associated with D-MER. D-MER is a hormone reaction, not a psychological reaction. Below are some ways you can deal with D-MER. This is the best way to treat mild or moderate D-MER. If you think you have a severe case of D-MER, it is best to contact your doctor. Most moms report that D-MER improves, or goes away after a few months of breastfeeding. D-MER is not a reason to wean your baby, see the tips below for ways to help deal with D-MER.

D-MER is NOT related to any type of depression or anxiety that happens beyond let down. If you’re feeling depressed, or anxious at any point throughout the day, these feelings could be related to Postpartum Depression (PPD) or Postpartum Anxiety (PPA). If you suspect you may be experiencing PPD or PPA, please contact your doctor.

Tips to improve D-MER symptoms:

-Make sure you are well rested, well hydrated, and have eaten recently. Try to keep a glass of water, and a small snack nearby while breastfeeding.

-Drink more water, even if you are staying well hydrated with other types of liquids.

-Have a snack that contains carbohydrates just before breastfeeding.

-Make sure you are eating a well-balanced meal throughout the day, and not going long periods of time without eating.

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