Breastfeeding with Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex

Breastfeeding is one of the most debated topics in motherhood. Your baby is more important that your sanity. Your sanity is more important than your baby. I love breastfeeding, it’s a beautiful natural way to connect with my baby. I hate breastfeeding, it doesn’t feel natural.

There is no right way to feel about breastfeeding. We all have our own opinions and experiences. My experience with breastfeeding the twins wasn’t a good one. I was recovering from a C-section, pumping every 2-3 hours and feeding a baby in between ( 24/7),and loosing 1-2 pounds a day. One of the twins had a milk sensitivity, so in order for me to continue to feed him breast milk I had to cut dairy from my diet. That wasn’t an option for me at the time because I was hardly eating as it is and was loosing weight drastically. After 3 months of literally killing myself I finally said enough is enough. I felt immense guilt. I felt like I was failing my babies because my body couldn’t keep up anymore.

My experience with breastfeeding my singleton wasn’t much better. I had serious gallbladder issues ( after both pregnancies) but this time it was way worse. I was nauseous almost every day, loosing weight drastically, no appetite, burning pain in my stomach, I wasn’t well. On top of it all about 2 months postpartum, I started experiencing a rush of bad emotions every time I pumped. I’d sit in the corner of my room at my ” pumping station” and almost cry every time I had to pump. It was uncontrollable anxiety, panic, and depression. It lasted for the first 3 minutes of my pumping session but felt like it lasted an eternity.

I started feeling like I was going crazy. I started having anxiety between pumping sessions because I knew what was going to happen in a few short hours. I did it for as long as I could. By 3 months PP I found out why I was having all these terrible emotions while pumping, I had D-MER ( Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex)!
Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex is a condition affecting lactating women that is characterized by an abrupt dysphoria, or negative emotions, that occur just before milk release and continuing not more than a few minutes.( from D-MER.org)

I made it to 5 months and then I decided enough was enough. D-MER is a real thing. I wasn’t going crazy. On top of all the other issues I was facing, I just couldn’t do it anymore. The moment I was dried up my gallbladder symptoms drastically improved within a week. Pregnancy does a number on your gallbladder. I saw two surgeons during this time who told me I would absolutely need to have my gallbladder removed because “once you become symptomatic, you likely will stay that way”. All to find out it was directly related to the hormones you produce while breastfeeding!

My hope is that this reaches someone who suffers from D-MER or who has suffered from it in the past. It’s such a random thing that I didn’t even know existed before it happen to me. We all have our reasons why we choose to or not to breastfeed. My hope is that we can all support each other in our decisions.

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