The Breastfeeding Problem No One Talks About

When you become a mother, a whole new world of technical terms opens up. And the only people who know what they mean are fellow moms and doctors (though that could be debatable.) One of those confusing terms is D-MER, leading many to ask what is D-MER, or dysphoric milk ejection?

According to, D-MER is a condition affecting lactating women that causes an abrupt flood of negative emotions that occur just before milk release, and only last for a few minutes. Though the symptoms may sound like postpartum depression or a certain post natal anxiety, D-MER is specific to the milk ejection reflex, or the let-down, as it's referred to by many nursing mothers, according to the Australian Breastfeeding Association.

In an interview with The Telegraph, breastfeeding specialist Sharon George explained that although fluctuating dopamine levels in breastfeeding mothers are normal, D-MER is something completely different. "Because there is so little known about it, there is more chance of it being diagnosed as post-natal depression than a temporary hormonal imbalance," George said. The Telegraph reported that though the term was coined seven years ago by lactation experts, direct research into D-MER is still fairly non-existent.

After her own experience with D-MER, lactation consultant and certified doula Alia Macrina Heise set out to get to the bottom of D-MER, and to create a place where other mothers who may be struggling with D-MER could find information and share their experiences. With the help of other mothers who experienced D-MER and several lactation specialists, Heise was able to create an educational resource for mothers who may find themselves experiencing D-MER without knowing what it is at The site very clearly differentiates D-MER from other postpartum symptoms such as ongoing depression and anxiety, a psychological response to breastfeeding, a general dislike for breastfeeding, and more. Because , although those things may seem like they could be similar to D-MER, all signs and research thus far point to the fact that D-MER is a specific chemical reaction that revolves around the release of milk.

Though the length and severity of symptoms are different for different mothers, it's important to come forward with your symptoms if you believe you may be suffering from D-MER. According to Heise, many professionals aren't aware of D-MER and its effects on new mothers, which is why talking about it is so important. "As women and professionals work together to become better educated about D-MER, awareness and understanding will increase and ongoing progress will be made," Heise said. Mothers who think they may be experiencing D-MER not only reach out to their doctor to discuss the best course of action, but educate themselves with resources and community surrounding D-MER so that they feel less isolated in their symptoms.