Saturday, February 12, 2011

Emotional upset surrounding milk letdown...

Navelgazing Midwife has a blog I follow and she posted a topic today that I find simple fascinating.  Apparently, there is a condition known as Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex (D-mer) that causes some women to have intensely negative feelings when their milk is letdown and all throughout the feeding process. Can you imagine a new Mother with her first child, who is already struggling to adjust to her new life and little one, only to have this extra situation piled on?  These poor women, and I am curious to see if this is corelated with PPD and a more difficult bonding between Mother and Child.

Her direct link is below:
Terrible Emotional Feelings Surrounding Letdown

and this is what it says:

Terrible Feelings Surrounding Letdown?

You might have something called Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex -D-Mer for short.
I stumbled across an article a couple of days ago and while I’m still reading about the condition, I didn’t want to wait until I was more knowledgeable before sharing it here. 
Just-Identified Breastfeeding Disorder Gives New Meaning to ‘Letdown’,” written in Babble’s Strollerderby, speaks D-Mer, a negative visceral reaction surrounding the let-down reflex while nursing. It seems to have been begun being studied in 2008… that’s the earliest studies I can find. (A list of the available studies is found on the D-Mer.orgwebsite.) 
While the causes are still being explored and studied, it seems there’s a glitch in the dopamine receptor and its regulation. This is the more scientific area I’ll look at later. 
It’s the information that women aren’t nuts if they feel these feelings during nursing that I want to get out right now. 
Alia Macrina Heise writes in “Opening the Door to Breastfeeding’s Best Kept Secret”: 
“The birth was a fairytale and my babymoon was like a dream. Then the babymoon came to an abrupt end as I started to find that just before my milk released, each and every time, I had an overwhelming sensation of guilt, dread and horror. I didn't have any pain, no physical problems, just a surge of negative emotions that hit me in the gut out of nowhere, only to fade away a few moments after my milk released from my breast. I felt great otherwise.” 
Michelle writes in “A Feeling of Dread – Michelle’s Story”: 
“I asked myself if maybe it was postnatal depression, but that didn’t sit right. I was actually elated to have birthed at home and to have had such a great experience. Maybe I was coming down from that high? I wasn’t sure. At first the bad feelings were like an intuition, that something really bad was about to happen. There was nothing I could put my finger on, but I had been trying so hard to tune into my intuition over the final weeks of pregnancy and during labour, I thought I was somehow now psychic and that bad things were about to happen to me, the kids, my husband, the house. Once I even hobbled out of bed to check my older son, not really sure why, but so sure that something was wrong.” 
This is fascinating. And is a testament that even someone like me who reads nearly everything she can find on birth and nursing, there are still black holes of knowledge that need filling. I wrote in Facebook: 
“It's when topics like this come up... a very, very important link in the birth process... that I've never heard of before that keeps me humble as all get out. You all see only a part of what I read on a daily basis and... for goodness sake,... I was a La Leche League leader for 10 years! I just cannot believe I've never heard of this. 
And yes! When I take this new color to the breastfeeding spectrum and hold it up against the misunderstood or confusing situations I've seen over the last almost 3 decades, some of them make perfect sense. As Erin said, ‘I never understood why some women said they hated breastfeeding... now I get it.’ 
And, beside the humbling aspects, this also serves as a GLARING reminder of the massive amounts of information still yet to be ‘discovered’ and named and studied... experiences women right next to us... or even ourselves... have no explanation for that, if we had the future knowledge, might change the entire relationship with our bodies/our breasts/our babies/our partners/our minds. 
Just wow.”
I hope this information resonates with any of you that might not have heard of D-Mer either.

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