The ‘Dark’ Side of my Breastfeeding Journey

Okay, so before I go on with my story, I just wanted to let this out — I am not breastfeeding anymore.

Yes, you read that right. Not breastfeeding anymore.

Instead, I am bottle-feeding Lucia with my breastmilk. Does that sound strange? You see, there is a middle ground between breastfeeding and formula feeding and that is exclusively pumping. What does this mean? Please do check my post about exclusively pumping here>>

Call Me Balot

Anyway, I have taken this route since Santi’s time and I am doing it again for Lucia. So yes…

I was and still am a proud ‘exclusively pumping mama’

But exclusive pumping is not what I really want to talk about. Today, I want to talk about D-MER or Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex.

You see, there is a weird thing effing my insides every time I have a milk letdown. This happened during Santi’s time and it is still happening now. For the lack of a better term, I call it nausea.

But it is not nausea, not technically. 

That ‘nausea’ I get during letdown is more emotional in nature. It’s like a hollow pit in the stomach that makes you want to throw up or gag and feel really sad. Like you are homesick or something. And it only lasts for more than a minute. Sooo effin’ weird.

I was not aware of this condition before (just like I have never heard of APAS

). I just remember Googling “sadness when breastfeeding” because I wanted some solace that there are other moms out there, like me, who experience fleeting moments of sadness when they are breastfeeding. And you know, to feel normal that I am not the only one suffering from this condition.

 

Upon doing some little research, I stumbled upon what is called Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex or D-MER.

According to the Australian Breastfeeding Association, D-MER is characterized by negative emotions, that occur seconds before a mother’s milk ejection reflex when breastfeeding or expressing or with a spontaneous MER. In their website, one mother was quoted describing D-MER. She said —

If you have read Harry Potter they talk about the creatures that suck the soul out of you and when they are around it makes you cold and you start to focus on negative things and fall into this abyss of negative thoughts — that is how D-MER was for me at times.

THIS IS ME!!! This is the perfect description of what I feel. Every single time I have a letdown, whether it is during a latch or when I am pumping, I feel like there is a dementor sucking all my happiness.

Now, before you think I am making an excuse to stop breastfeeding, I don’t. I actually love the idea of giving breastmilk to my children because I know of its immense benefits.

And we are back to this. #milkingmama #3daystash @honeysucklephils

A post shared by Balot Del Rosario (@callmebalot) on

 

The reason why I wanted to talk about D-MER is to share with other moms who might be experiencing the same that they are not alone. I have searched about this condition in Breastfeeding Pinays group in Facebook and there are several anecdotes about it.

This condition really exists.

While there may be some who would make this as an excuse to stop breastfeeding, I am part of the other side whose knowledge of this condition actually reinforces my breastfeeding journey.

Knowing I have D-MER helps me to soldier on because I know that it is but a fleeting moment caused by an instant drop in my dopamine hormone and that it is just a hormonal imbalance that can be corrected by my own body in minutes.

Knowing I have D-MER strengthens my conviction to pump rather than have Lucia latch because I don’t want her to feel that feeling of hopelessness and despair that I feel when she is nursing, no matter how fleeting it may be.

Sigh…

So there, Mama! I truly hope that you do not have to go through this but if you do, holler me! Let’s make each other feel a little bit normal even if we have this rare condition (I am such a sucker for rare medical conditions, geez). And maybe you can even share with me some tips on how to minimize that sinking feeling?

Hope to hear from you soon!

Toodles!

Love,

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