Celebrity Families

The breastfeeding complication you may not have heard of

‘In short, breast feeding made me want to curl up and die.’ Blogger shares her experience with dysphoric milk ejection reflex.

Teagan is a blogger on a mission, to reach and connect with as many women as she possibly can and help them to feel safe, loved and accepted.
The 24-year-old mother of two from Perth, Western Australia shares a refreshingly honest and open account of her parenting success and failures through her online blog Two Kids Raising Kids.
Her latest blog post, 'Breastfeeding made me hate myself', has caught the world’s attention because of its real and emotional portrayal of the ‘real but rare’ breastfeeding condition you may not have heard of: dysphoric milk ejection reflex.

What is dysphoric milk ejection reflex (D-MER)?

The Australian Breast Feeding association describes D-Mer as:
‘A fairly rare condition which can affect some breastfeeding women.
D=Dysphoria which is defined in the Macquarie Dictionary as a state of dissatisfaction, anxiety, restlessness or fidgeting
MER= Milk ejection reflex (the ‘let-down’)
D-MER is characterised by negative emotions, that occur seconds before a mother’s milk ejection reflex when breastfeeding or expressing or with a spontaneous MER (ie milk releasing when not breastfeeding or expressing).
D-MER is very different from Postnatal Depression (PND) or an anxiety disorder. D-MER is associated with negative emotions only with a MER.’

What does D-MER feel like?

• Hollow feelings in the stomach
• Anxiety
• Sadness
• Dread
• Introspectiveness
• Nervousness
• Anxiousness
• Emotional upset
• Angst
• Irritability
• Hopelessness
• Something in the pit of the stomach.

Teagan’s experiences highlight just how dreadful and isolating the condition can be.
In the blog post she explains:
‘In short, breastfeeding made me want to curl up and die. Not because it was painful (although the first few weeks of engorged, hot boobs and cracked nipples were hell!) but because I suffered with D-MER. D-MER stands for dysphoric milk ejection reflex. It means that my hormones had gone haywire, and the hormone dopamine dropped way too low when I “let down” (when my milk started to come out). Instead of feeling all of those beautiful, loving and bonding emotions, I instantly felt like I had been hit by a truckload of depression. I don’t know why it happened to me, but I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety since I was a teenager, so I assume my dopamine levels are already pretty low. This isn’t the usual anxiety that I’ve experienced before though, this was a whole other ball game’
Many women have taken to the comment section not only to praise Teagan for sharing her experience but for to share their own experiences.
One commenter said,
‘I have this, and it took me a couple months before I realized what was going on. It is literally the worst. I almost heard voices in my head Everytime I let down, that’s how bad it got. And no one understood… Literally, no one. My girl is 6 months now, and I’m finally okay with formula feeding her. The g u I l t trips I put myself through are bad enough, much less #breastisbest.
I say #fedisbest, #healthyisbest, and Mama’s mental health is very underestimated in the health of our littles.
Stay strong, mama. You’re doing an amazing job.’
For more information on D-MER and other breast feeding conditions, head to the Australian Breastfeeding Association Website here.