What is Dsyphoric Milk Ejection Reflex?

A mother experiencing Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex

What is Dsyphoric Milk Ejection Reflex?

What is Dsyphoric Milk Ejection Reflex?

What to Know About Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex

Have you ever experienced a deep feeling of anxiety or sadness while pumping or breastfeeding? There’s actually a name for that—dysphoric milk ejection reflex— and I’m here to talk to you about it.

My name is Frances. I’m a licensed professional counselor and a perinatal mental health specialist.

The feeling you get over your body is due to the milk ejection reflex and the hormone fluctuations that happen in order to get a letdown. This is called dysphoric milk ejection reflex, otherwise known as D-MER A lot of women don’t know what this is, and so they’ll often, you know, come to therapy and say, I just get really anxious when I’m breastfeeding or I get a feeling of depression when I’m pumping. And something about it just makes me feel dark and uncomfortable. Am I depressed? Do I have anxiety?

These are very common questions and concerns because it is physiologically a very uncomfortable feeling for some women here to tell you that it’s actually very normal in a biological physiological feeling that is connected to your milk ejection reflex, it generally only lasts a few minutes, and it’s not anything that should concern you.

But if you don’t know what it is, like I said, it can be really overwhelming and unpleasant. There are ways to cope with this. It’s worth discussing with your medical providers or your mental health provider. If you become overwhelmed with anxiety and are questioning whether or not breastfeeding or pumping is beneficial and appropriate for you and your family, just know that the sensation is incredibly normal and should only last a few minutes and is generally not a cause for concern if talked about and treated appropriately.

Click here for more information on Frances and our care team