As the weeks pass and I get closer to meeting Baby #2, those old breastfeeding concerns are becoming more prominent in my mind…will I suffer from the breastfeeding blues (D-MER) again?
I did not have the greatest experience with breastfeeding the first time around.
To be fair, certain elements did go my way- the baby latched easily, I had no trouble producing milk, and feeding sessions were nice and quick (seven-minutes-per-side-quick!).
And this was a HUGE “but.”
BUT, every single time my milk let down, I had a peculiar sensation wash over me. It was like a brief wave of sadness/homesickness that lasted no more than a minute, but it reliably came every time I nursed.
I didn’t pay much attention at first. But as the feelings persistently made themselves a frequent part of my day, I became concerned.
I talked to a few close friends and family members about it, but none of them had gone through it. I decided to look it up on the Internet. I instantly found a name for what I was experiencing: Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex (D-MER).
According to KellyMom (a fabulous resource for new mommies), D-MER is a “physiological response that appears to be tied to a sudden decrease in the brain chemical dopamine immediately before milk let-down.”
What this means is that it’s not psychological- it’s not like with a lot of concentrating or behavior modification, I could “wish” these feelings away. It is a bodily reaction to the decrease in dopamine.
It was interesting…once I had a name for what I was feeling, I was able to handle it better. I no longer felt like I was going through this alone. It comforted me to know that other women suffered from D-MER, too.
Each time before I nursed, I mentally prepared myself for the fact that this feeling was going to come, and I accepted it. Of course, I tried to distract myself when I could. That helped sometimes.
I nursed my daughter for almost eight months (until she tried to bite me), and then I pumped until she turned a year old. The D-MER never went away during that time.
I definitely considered quitting breastfeeding, but I felt like I could tough it out. This was the only significant problem I faced as a new mom. I think if I had been facing any additional obstacles, for example, a colicky baby or an unsupportive husband, I would have opted to quit breastfeeding.
Thankfully, though, I had a pretty good baby and a wonderfully helpful husband and family.
So that is why I am dreading breastfeeding again. I have prepared myself for the possibility that the D-MER may return, and that it may be harder to deal with this time around with two kids.
I have already given myself a pass- acknowledging privately that it’s okay if I don’t breastfeed as long this time. I will just do the best I can.
If you are experiencing similar feelings, talk to your doctor and find out more information about D-MER.
To read another post about my struggle with D-MER, click here.