Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex

The topic Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex (D-MER) came up recently in a professional group of which I am a member. Carol Gray shared a blog post that she wrote about this condition, and I want to share this information because it is really important that mothers know what it is and what causes it. I have known several mothers who have experienced it, and it can be very distressing especially if a mother does not know what is happening. Please share this information.

D-MER is a flood of negative emotions (including helplessness, anger, dread, anxiety) and often nausea that occurs right before the Milk Ejection Reflex (right before the milk is "let down") when nursing. The overwhelming negative feelings only last for about 30 seconds to 2 minutes and the mother feels completely fine before and after.

D-MER is caused by a hormonal drop in dopamine right before the Milk Ejection Reflex. It is NOT a postpartum mood disorder, repressed trauma, or or poor bonding with your baby but can occur concurrently. D-MER is treatable and/or manageable. If you or someone you know is experiencing D-MER, you are not alone and you are not doing anything wrong. You can get help from a Lactation Consultant or other healthcare provider. If your healthcare provider is not familiar with D-MER, find someone who is. explains that D-MER can go unrecognized for many reasons:
since 1) some mothers have so many closely spaced letdowns per feeding that the feelings do not have a chance to dissipate before the next D-MER is upon her, making her feel that she experiences on long D-MER through most of, if not all of, the feeding 2) many mothers do not physically feel a letdown in their breasts and so does not connect the feeling as to being just prior to letdown and 3) given the fact that D-MER happens with spontaneous letdowns as well, a mother may not immediately connect the way she is feeling to being a breastfeeding phenomenon.

For more information about D-MER, visit and this post on Ask Moxie and this video (

1 comment:

lindsay said...

Seriously, NO ONE talks about this. Thanks for spreading the word!