Friday, November 13, 2009

Tearfulness Over Pumping?

For those of you who are working at SME2 building in Cyberjaya, you would see me doing this everyday at work, just before Asar prayer in the surau.

I would open my small bottle cooler/warmer bag, assemble the pump accessories and the noise of the electric pump would then blare throughout the surau once I start pumping, and some heads would even turn towards me sometimes. Embarrassed? Just a little, but anything good for my son works for me lah.

The first 5-10 mins of pumping will not usually give me much since my milk supply has now dropped dramatically as mentioned in my previous entry before. But the weird thing is, just before the milk start flowing in, I would feel this sudden mixed wave of emotion washing over me, and believe it or not, I would feel all teary and confused for no reason at all. Seriously. Tetibe je rasa macam tak sedap hati, otak rasa serabut and rasa macam nak nangis lah, senang cite. But it's gone once the milk starts gushing out from my breast. This weird feeling comes just for a few seconds, and just before the milk letdown. Like, you know, lepas susu tu keluar, automatic that feeling tu hilang and I would feel lega semacam.

Pelik kan? Not really.

Having to have experienced this for quite some time now, I decided to google about it yesterday just after my pumping session and that's when I knew I am one of those many moms who are experiencing this condition called D-MER.

You see, Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex (D-MER) is a newly recognized condition affecting breastfeeding mothers that is characterized by an abrupt dysphoria (negative emotions) that occur just before milk release and continuing for not more than a few minutes/seconds. A mother with D-MER feels absolutely fine except just before her milk starts to flow. D-MER is a brief feeling, not more than 30 seconds to 2 minutes, only and always beginning before let-down. This is not postpartum depression and most of these mothers feel perfectly fine except for that pre-milk moment. A brief interval after the negative feelings appear, the milk begins to flow.

I was so relieved when I found out this website because I finally knew what was going on with me and knowing there are mothers out there who are also experiencing the same condition as I do! It describes what I have been experiencing perfectly too!

I've always guessed that it has got something to do with my hormones, hence I googled more about it and found out that this condition is related to dopamine levels. Dopamine is a hormone that plays a big part in many functions, including affecting your moods. Dopamine also helps to regulate prolactin (which is your milk-making hormone). When a baby (or a pump) latches on to the breast and stimulates your body, dopamine levels dip, allowing prolactin to rise. In women with D-MER, the dopamine levels seem to drop too low, causing negative feelings. D-MER seems to self correct however, between 3-9 months.

I understand from the website that I went that this condition is a newly recognized condition because no one could ever guessed so many women were being affected. There were not enough mothers coming forward to speak about their emotions while breastfeeding. Mothers were embarrassed and thought they were the only ones. It has been one of breastfeeding's best kept secrets, but it's time for that to end because I will be sure to pass this information on to others in the birth and breastfeeding communities.

After all, what's there to be embarrassed about? It's just hormones!


bintiegen said...

electrical pumping? x bahaya ke?
agk ssh rupenye klu de baby, and i cant imagine when i'm with the same situation.
i love baby, tp im not ready for mine. gile ah!
but soon it will be...hopefully :)
lg 1 nk tane r, susu ibu basi x?

Thara said...

bintie :
taklah. tak bahaya. lagi senang ade lah. jadik tangan tak lenguh nak menge-pam as compared to manual pump. ;)

susu ibu bole basi kalau tak masukkan dalam peti ais lebeh dari 4 jam. kalau masuk peti ais pon, bole tahan dalam seminggu je. tapi kalau bekukan dlm freezer, bole tahan sampai 6 bulan.

insyaallah bintie. dulu i pon mcm u. tak ready, tak ready. skali dah melekat, ready tak ready, automatic die jadik ready. ;)

RieNa said...


k riena mula2 pam dulu rasa nak nangis bila pam kuar 1/2 oz je!
tp lps tu tarik nafas rilex2 tenang dan lps tu susu mula keluar pelan2. yg penting jgn mudah putus asa dan sentiasa pikir +ve je.

Thara said...

kak riena :

sebenarnya, ape yang tiqah rasa ni, bukan sedeh pasal susu tak keluar banyak. tapi, perasaan tu tiba2 je dtg dgn sendirinya (beyond my control), betol2 sblm susu tiqah nak sembur keluar. kadang2 tiqah dok mengelamun kot laen semasa pam, then dgn tak semena-mena je tetibe rasa sedeh, nak nangis, then susu keluar. selalu mcm ni masa tiqah pam. kalau tiqah rasa nak nangis tu, maknanya susu nak keluar dah la tu. tapi lepas susu dah keluar tu, perasaan tu hilang serta merta. pelik kan?

bintiegen said...

klu comel, bley r redi. klu x comel cn? ahaha.

pergh! 6 bln mkn karipap frozen plak kn. cn nk tau dh basi ke x? rs sdri? ke de perubahan kaler?

pelik r kn...serius pelik.

nnt agknye bl dh de baby tol2, br x terpk soklan2 cani agknye.

princess J said...

thara, i'm so proud of you! such sweet mama, aydein is so blessed to have you both as parents!