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Mom’s Viral TikTok Brings Attention to Overlooked Postpartum Condition

Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex or D-MER affects as many as 9 percent of breastfeeding moms. Watch as one momtoker shares her personal struggle here.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Published January 30, 2024

Just like any corner of the internet, MomTok and parenting groups on social media are filled with the good and the bad. Between a thousand different parenting types and loud opinions on what’s best for baby, it can occasionally be a place of judgment. But it can also be a place where people who feel isolated, alone or unseen can find a community and potentially discover life-changing information.

This is true when it comes to @alyssaice’s experience. In a now-viral TikTok, the Chicago mom begins by sharing a normal day-in-the-life update before breaking down and opening up about her emotional struggles with breastfeeding, particularly due to a condition called Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex or D-MER, that she had recently heard about in her a Facebook group for moms.

“I love breastfeeding, don’t get me wrong, but this is really really hard,” Alyssa says through tears. “I didn’t even know what it was, when it first started happening to me. And then in a Facebook Group that I am in for December 2023 babies one of the moms had posted about having this feeling and apparently, it’s called Dysphoric Milk Ejection.” D-MER, is an abrupt, intensely negative emotional response that some breastfeeding people experience just before let-down (aka the release of milk).

“It’s gotten a little bit worse over the last few weeks,” she added. “I feel like I’m gonna throw up. The second I start pumping, I feel like I’m gonna start throwing up. I feel like I’m gonna start crying, or I start crying a little bit, and it only lasts for like a minute or so, but it’s very, very, very hard to deal with mentally. Because literally, in that one minute, your mind is just going through these horrible, horrible thoughts, or like … you feel really, really sad.”

Alyssa goes on to explain her struggles with the big highs, lows and exhaustion that can come with D-MER, adding that she was shocked that she hadn’t heard about the condition before she started struggling with it.

“I don’t see there being any conversations about it and I feel like it’s really important to talk about something like this because there are mothers out there, people breastfeeding who could be feeling this way and not know that like it’s normal or it could discourage them to stop their breastfeeding journey. Literally, the only reason that I haven’t stopped—because the feeling is just that eerie— if because of that mom who posted about it in the Facebook group and helped me educate myself on what it is, you know it doesn’t always last forever.”

If you are dealing with intense negative feelings when breastfeeding, take the time to learn more about D-MER today. Be sure to talk to your doctor about your symptoms and what can be done to make life a little easier.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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