Nurse until you cry.

by Scylla on June 23, 2008

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I thought I would share some important information I discovered about nursing. Finding it changed my life.

The other day I popped over to Pumproom Confessions and saw a button on the sidebar that said “Breastfeeding shouldn’t be a downer.” As I am ever interested in the world of nursing, and an advocate for breastfeeding, I clicked on it. It led me to a website for Dysphroic Milk Ejection Reflex. Suddenly I was reading account after account from women who experienced the same thing I do when nursing.

I love to nurse, the closeness is amazing, the health benefits for myself and my baby are incredible, and I believe it is the best thing for myself and my baby. I breastfed my daughter successfully and without any difficulty until she was 18 months old. Therefore, I found it a bit dismaying that each time I sat down to nurse my son I would suddenly be overcome with a deep wave of despair. It would punch me right in the stomach and sit there for a minute to two, then it would go away. I told myself it was mild post partum depression. I told myself it was a reaction to finally sitting down and not distracting myself from my grief over a departed friend. I didn’t connect it with my milk letting down. I didn’t connect it with nursing at all, even though it happened every time I sat down to do it. I just figured it was something else. I never knew it was a documented condition that afflicted other moms as well.

I can’t begin to tell you how much it means to me that I am a) not alone, b) not insane c) not imagining it. I feel so much better simply knowing that there is a physical reason for those moments of despair, and that there are people researching it to see if there is something that can be done. Clearly some wire in my brain is crossed. Evolutionarily it makes sense to have pleasurable emotions released when your milk lets down, not despairing ones.

If you are a nursing mother, and you feel inexplicably sad, anxious, angry, or depressed for short intense periods while nursing, check out the website on D-MER. Breastfeeding is challenging enough without having to battle intense and nebulous emotional demons along with it. I feel so much better simply knowing more about the problem, and I would bet you will too.

If anyone reading this feels this way and wants to talk about their experience, email me at lawandmotherhood@gmail.com. There is no reason to keep silent about it anymore.

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Scylla (18 Posts)


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

justine June 23, 2008 at 9:28 pm

Whoa! I thought I was some kind of odd ball! I don’t feel anything as intense as despair when my milk comes in, but I certainly feel a wave of “icky-ness” for a moment. I am not quite willing to call it revulsion…or even nausea. It is not directed at the baby or at nursing, but it turns me off of food or drinks for about an hour. Even if I was starving right before I began to nurse, as soon as my milk lets down I think “I could never eat again and I’d be okay with that.” I really hadn’t given it much thought before I read this. Actually, I thought it was a pretty good weight loss method!

How fascinating! Thanks for bringing this to our attention! I’ll be sure to share this other BF moms!

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Scylla June 24, 2008 at 5:21 am

Justine,
I am glad the article was helpful to you! I had thought the same about myself, that there was something odd about me, but it turns out it happens to a lot of us.
Take care and thank you for stopping in!

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crunchy domestic goddess June 25, 2008 at 8:33 pm

thanks for raising awareness about this, scylla. i’ve had some of these feelings from time to time and am going to read more about it. i appreciate you sharing this information.

amy

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