Quotes have been taken from earlier message board posts and correspondences from women with D-MER. These real life experiences help other mothers know that they are not alone and help show the magnitude at which women are being affected. Because of the magnitude of threads and posts regarding D-MER we can not continue to add quotes to this page. But we encouraged people to add their own to the guestbook. Continuing to hear from mothers personally and on the site helps keep the investigation and research of D-MER a high priority.It is important to note that many of the quotes report additional physical symptoms, which, aside from a hollow feeling in the stomach, are unrelated to D-MER.
"I had no idea that this was a common thing! I've had that every time I breastfeed! But I didn't experience it with my other 2 kids, just my 3rd, who's 4 months old now. I expect to feel a totally hollow, nauseas & weirdly depressed feeling for about 1 min. each time I breastfeed so I'm sure to not have food in my mouth or something because it will make me gag. But then it goes away completely a minute later! I have always blamed it on hormones, but I'm excited to hear that I'm not the only one!"
"I'm so glad to hear so many others have this problem too. Whenever I start breastfeeding, I suddenly feel really sad and empty and I think to myself, "hmmm, I wonder what's wrong" and then I realize, oh, I'm just breastfeeding again. It passes within about 15 seconds. Very strange. It doesn't really bother me, but it is odd."
"I didn't realize until I came across this thread that this is what I'm experiencing! I just thought I was a freak, or that it's postpartum depression "on occasion"... wow wow wow.""Wow this is new to me, but I'm sure I had this while nursing my child. I would feel soooo homesick and anxious at the same time, it was the weirdest feeling in the world. I was so sad for a few minutes every nursing. I just wanted my mom! Oh and that feeling in the pit of my stomach too. I pushed through and it got better, but I never got my appetite back while I was nursing."
"I think "hopeless" is a good way to describe the feeling. Mine only lasts 5-10 seconds, but during that time I do feel like nothing will ever be right or good again. Thanks for posting this. I think it's a good thing for first-time mamas to be aware of."
"I do feel "hollow" but I associate it with the hollowness I feel when I'm really thirsty...which of course makes no sense to anyone but me but it's the only way to describe it."
"Interesting. I wrote a post about this years ago and got no responses, so I assumed I was just weird. Mine only lasted a few seconds and as the kids got older it went away. I like the "reverse orgasm" description."
"Oh wow. Thank you for posting this. I was seriously starting to think something was wrong with me. We had latch problems at the beginning which lasted for 3 months so I'm not sure if the hollow feeling was because of that too. Breastfeeding for me isn't really a pleasant experience and it's only been lately that I get to have a few warm fuzzies every now and then. Especially if my child is being extra loving."
"Hmm... I had a somewhat similar experience... Once in a while, almost always at night, I'd get up to nurse him and instead of being able to just fall asleep nursing I'd suddenly get this incredibly intense anxiety. I just HAD to get that baby off of me and I HAD to get out of the room!! It was so intense that it honestly scared me!! And then of course the guilt feelings came then...why can't I feed my son, what kind of a mom am I...etc. Of course he'd start crying because I wasn't feeding him, which would just add to my anxiety. I even tried nursing him in other areas of the house...the glider, the couch, upstairs, downstairs... I tried walking around while nursing him, I tried watching some tv... Nothing worked. I'd start to drift off to sleep and then BOOM, the anxiety would hit. It was like an all-body restless leg syndrome from pregnancy. Night time nursings were terrible for a while there. I would dread night time. And then it just went away. Not sure why. But wow..."
"Huh. And I thought it was only me..."
"I only had those feelings in the beginning. Now occasionally I will feel strange kinda like restless leg syndrome which I have but it seems to be brought on by a letdown."
"When my periods returned at about 10 weeks, I changed to where I had sad feelings when I nursed including thoughts that it would be bad to harm myself because my child needed me. Those thoughts are not so intense now but I do get the hollow dehydrated feeling."
"Interesting. I experience those hopeless feelings, but not linked to breastfeeding. In the early days I would have strong sleepiness and thirst. All throughout my life intense feelings of elation were associated with thirst for me, and I once wondered if it was significant that anti-depressants lead to dry mouth, but I didn't get euphoria with breastfeeding thirst. Nursing an older child, latching on has sometimes produced intense feelings of panic, feeling entrapped and needing to fight my way out. I would induce muscle cramps or invoke a sensation elsewhere in my body to help calm that response. Or sometimes I'd just end the nursing session."
"I feel extremely anxious right before and during let down, and for a bit thereafter. Thirsty, too."
"Yup though w/ each child it has gotten less and less noticeable. For me it makes me feel like I am homesick."
"Okay, this is really interesting. I hate to admit it but I smoke about 5-7 cigarettes a day, and will occasionally have a glass of wine or a beer in the evenings. I find that when I've gone without a smoke (I'm trying to quit) for more than four hours, the depressed feeling that comes when I nurse is almost unbearable. I primarily feel GUILTY - to the point of suicide (almost). It's just the worst WORST guilt feeling I've EVER had. When I'm hungry I find its better. Anyway, yes, when I talk to others too, it's MUCH better. In fact that is the most helpful thing (this is all in retrospect... I didn't know until yesterday that I wasn't going insane! Ha.)"
"I'm one of the moms in this thread who experienced the crazy feelings during let-down, and I'd be VERY interested to hear more of your findings. I read the posts on your blog - they were all so interesting, and I want to thank you so much for doing this research and getting the information out there! Will you be updating the blog with everything you find out through your research and your work with the LCs? I would really like to keep hearing about what you discover. I'm still nursing my almost-three-year-old, and while the feelings mostly ended at one year, they do come back occasionally and I'm still dealing with other anxiety- and depression-related problems. The symptoms I've had are similar to what I used to experience with PMS pre-baby (though on a larger scale), which definitely makes me suspect something hormonal. I will be very curious to see if the anxiety and depression dissipate when I am done nursing. Anyway, sorry to ramble so much! Thank you so much, again, for delving into this topic so deeply and sharing the information!"
"I get excessively lonely during let down. I have to nurse where other people are around or I'm not distracted enough...usually, I chatter a mile a minute to my husband until it passes."
"I experienced it, very acutely, and it became so problematic that I had to quit nursing early, too. It seriously affected me, making me so depressive and unstable that I almost always thought of harming my child while nursing her, and only while nursing her, due to the hormones around the let down. I did get on meds and made it until my daughter was almost three, but it was so awful that I have a hard time even thinking about those years, which seems so sad given how precious those times can be."
"One of the reasons I decided to night wean my son was because I was feeling this horrible nausea and negative feelings, and it'd be much worse on the days when he wanted to nurse constantly. There were times when I'd literally feel like tossing him away from me when he'd latch on, a really ugly/angry/aggressive sort of feeling that would pass in 30 - 60 seconds but that I found supremely distressing & disturbing. Maybe a hungry & demanding toddler (he was already past 18mo) nurses in a way that re-stimulates whatever it is that causes this "emotional letdown"?!?!? Once we night weaned and cut down breastfeeding to 4 - 6 sessions a day, those awful feelings were almost 100% gone."
"It happens to me too and it is such a terrible feeling. I am still feeling it and my daughter is almost a year old. I've started to night wean because the anxiety that I have about the feelings that I get while nursing is negatively impacting my life and interactions with others. I often feel like I could climb up the wall, run away, scream, not have any more children, etc because of it. I really wish there was something to do to make it go away, it makes me feel like such a failure (though logically I know I am not). I wanted to do child led weaning. I ended up weaning my son at 15 months because I could not function with the cycle of feelings that nursing him caused. I am so anxious for her to be weaned, but she is more challenging because she will not eat more than a few bites of solid food per day. When she refuses to eat I have a hard time not thinking "Oh my God, WHY ARE YOU PUNISHING ME?! Please eat. Please give me some hope that this will end." Then I feel terrible because she is a baby, she has to nurse and I feel like she is punishing me by doing it? What kind of person would think like that? (Just venting me feelings, I know they are not rational) Thinking about how I feel while nursing causes me to be depressed about it even when I am not nursing and it makes me feel like I am having an anxiety attack 24/7."
"I've always thought it was a hormonal thing, this hollow feeling during letdown. I've never given it much thought, but for some reason recently the hollow, depressive feeling has been lasting longer each feeding (1-2 minutes compared to a few seconds before) It's really unpleasant, and I usually get really touchy and snippy too."
"I went through this too.... anxious and depressed feelings with let down. Thank you for posting this. I thought I was the only one."
"I still get the hollow "unexplainable pang" (that's what I call it) along with thirst, but only when I'm pumping. I may get the thirst when I nurse but not the "pang"."
"Oh, wow. I had this for maybe the first month or two -- along with feeling like I could feel every last ounce of blood pulsing through my veins. I did NOT like that feeling."
"Like you mentioned in your first blog, I've seen the title of the thread dozens of times and never clicked on it. But, Oh my God, I haven't nursed in a year but I can vividly remember the hollow feeling in the stomach or a knot, getting anxious, teary eyed, etc. right before let down. I would also get it at other random times during the day. To this day I could not think of a single trigger for those feelings. I also went through the whole "I'm calling the doctor first thing tomorrow" about waves of depression. Then I'd feel totally fine, almost excited. And here I thought I was crazy."
"I experience this, too. Every time I sit down quietly in my favorite nursing chair this happens. I usually laugh and think "bring on them hormones!" But I don't notice it as much when I nurse in public (usually carrying on a conversation or trying to keep my daughter latched and not rubber-necking!) or nurse in bed during the night (usually half asleep!)"
"Here too as well - not every time, but quite often. I do it even when pumping!"
"Same feeling. Depressed, anxious, feel like I want to jump up and run away, nauseous. I finally connected it to my let down. Even if I have a letdown when I'm not feeding. I'm assuming that it is because of the oxytocin. My son is 5 months now and the feeling has subsided quite a bit. But, like you, I felt much better about it after I figured out why when it was happening."
"I've had this too. My baby is 2 months and the feeling has lessened but was extremely intense in the first weeks. It seems counter-intuitive since oxytocin is the love hormone. I wish I would have known other women experience this too, I'd only read that breastfeeding is supposed to make you feel all warm and fuzzy (which it now does!) I do however still lose my appetite. By the way---"hollow, empty feeling in my stomach" that's EXACTLY how I experience it!"
"Every time my daughter latches on and starts nursing, I am overwhelmed by a very strong feeling of depression. It only lasts for a minute or two, since I realize that it's some weird physiological effect I have from breastfeeding. With my first child, I didn't realize that it was breastfeed that triggered it and would let the feeling dictate my thoughts and I would dwell in that feeling of depression for awhile, not realizing where it came from. Now that I have realized that it happens because of breastfeeding, I can acknowledge the feeling and let it pass on by. It usually goes away in a few minutes. I imagine it may have something to do with hormones that are released by nipple stimulation- oxytocin, I think? When I first became sexually active, I noticed that extended nipple play would give me this hollow, empty feeling in my stomach that I really disliked and associated with being depressed emotionally. It eventually diminished as the years went by but when I had children it returned as this thing that happens when I breastfeed. It's not something that's bothersome enough to keep me from breastfeed. I honestly love the experience overall- except for the first minute or two of each session. I will happily breastfeed my daughter until she decides to wean herself. "
"I thought I was just weird...it is worse when I am trying to pump and was worse in the beginning. It's a terrible sick feeling of nausea and total disgust....I feel like I want to just writhe into a ball and the thought of food make me want to hurl. It doesn't last near so long and doesn't happen every time now that I am actually nursing."
"I also get this- the hollow, empty feeling in my stomach- but I don't associate any depression or negativity with it. It's the same feeling I get that I describe as a "homesick" feeling, like if I spend the night away from home or miss someone. Sort of a sense of wistfulness or of missing something. But I don't think of it as a negative thing. I assume it's hormones. It's funny how they all affect us differently."
"I get that sort of hollow feeling too, almost like I'm about to cry. It only lasts for a few moments, though, and then turns into intense thirst! In the past I've often confused being strangely melancholy like this with being thirsty (and vice versa). How strange is that? I find that if I make sure I have a big glass of water to gulp down right when I start nursing I can sort of head this off. Your description of homesickness is spot on! I've been trying to describe this feeling in words for so long and I think this is it"
"Just wanted to say - me too! I thought I was the only one, so phew! I've experienced it with all 3 of my children and have always called it my "home-sickness feeling".
" thought I was losing my mind. I get depressed and anxious. I feel really icky feeling creeping up my neck and the back of my head, my chest feels tingly and sometimes my teeth hurt. I emailed LLL International and have been waiting on a reply about this."
"I have had this nursing yuck with both my sons. I have never found any advice on how to stop it. The first time it went away as soon as my periods returned. I wish I knew how to stop it sooner. I dread that next let down because I know I'm going to be sick, thirsty, and depressed"
"It probably stopped around 6 months. My husband was ready to take me to the hospital though! It was brief, but, kind of scary. I thought oxytocin was supposed to make you feel good?"
"I get nauseous every time I breastfeed, and I don't get those "glass of wine", feel good warm and fuzzies I was promised!"
"Wow I had never heard of this before, but I get it too. Or something similar I guess. Since my son was maybe 4-6 weeks old, I'd get what I'd describe as a feeling of "dis-ease" like I was just edgy and uncomfortable in my skin and wanted to get away. My period returned around 6 months, and the feeling has definitely diminished, but every once in a while it returns. I never associated it with let-down, though."
"Only not only to I get an intense rush of depression while nursing, but the entire time I am breastfeeding I am low level depressed. I felt like the biggest freak, and I couldn't be right (because breastfeeding is supposed to make EVERYBODY happy, right? Wrong.), but then when my son weaned the whole world brightened up considerably and I had more energy, within days."
"I've had the same sort of feeling, hollow empty feeling in the pit of my stomach, wistful home sicky-feeling that turns in to huge thirst. But it happens during nipple play when I had sex and not breastfeeding. Strange but it's the exact same feeling. Like a cloud passing over the sun."
"Me, too. In fact, if I even so much as think about food during the first couple of minutes of nursing, I get such a nauseous, YUCK feeling. Just read the homesick comment another poster made, and that is EXACTLY what it feels like."
"I am so glad I found this. I have that total homesick feeling and I start wondering if this is the life that I want - bizarre because I don't think that any other time. I even started to wonder if there was some sexual abuse in my past that was too deep to remember, but I couldn't even fathom how that could be the case. I am so happy and relieved to see that there are lots of women that this happens to."
"I had it too! Just with the first two kids, for a few months. I hated it. It's weird. But normal, so that's comforting."
"Immediately prior to my letdown, I get a hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach. The feeling travels upwards and forms a lump in my throat at which time my eyes well up with tears and I feel incredibly sad. Sometimes I just feel like I want to get up and shake it off or just run away. It's weird. Luckily it only lasts a short bit."
"Wow - I thought I was the only one who felt this 'feeling' when nursing. For me, it started when I was pregnant with my first son whenever my husband would 'play' with my nipples. It continued through breastfeeding him, and now I feel it when I am nursing my second son. For me, it almost feels like a nausea or something in the pit of my stomach. And you're right - it fades quickly. It really bothered me in the beginning. I can say that it diminishes the longer I breastfeed....."
"Yep, I get it too. I also get a prickly feeling under my arm pits...it's very uncomfortable for a few seconds."
"Every single time I nurse, within 30 seconds of latching on, I feel this deep sadness/hopelessness, sometimes physically in my chest. Could it be hormonal? We've always had a pretty good nursing relationship, and whenever people say stuff like "he's so big!" I feel so proud that he's breastfed and I'm meeting his needs and keeping him healthy. When it happens, I try to put words to it and figure out what's wrong, but nothing ever is. What is it? I'd really like to figure it out, as it seems to be getting worse."
"I wanted to respond because I was so surprised to see this!! I had the exact same problem with both of my boys. For me, the first time it lasted probably 9 months and the second time it lasted about 6 months. Mine was pretty fleeting. It would last maybe a minute right after he'd latch on. I'm positive it was hormonal."
"Holy. Cow. I can't believe I just read this. I only happened upon this post by mere chance. I just want you to know that you are ABSOLUTELY not alone. I have NEVER met ANYONE but myself who experiences this exact same thing. I'm in shock. I've talked to all my friends, LLL and everything in-between to see if anyone has ever had this happen and I am the only one. My ND is the only person who has heard of it upon letdown and is currently treating me with homeopathy. I've had this happen with ALL 4 of my kiddos while breastfeeding. It is the strangest thing ever and I really hate it. It's super strong right after birth and for some time after but then (for me anyway) it seems to slowly get less intense. My daughter is 10 months and I still have it to some degree though it's much easier to deal with now. I even lose my appetite upon letdown. I immediately feel as though I hate food if I think about it even if I was starving previous to nursing. As soon as let down passes it lifts pretty much but it's awful strange to go through."
"This is exactly what happened to me with both my kids. I remembered loving being able to breastfeed but hating it at the same time because I would get this rush of "yucky" feelings that I couldn't explain every time I would nurse. I remember talking to my husband about it after my son was born. I was saying how frustrating it was because other moms would talk about the rush of love and good feelings they would have when they let down and I just felt really odd, sad, anxious, etc. I figured it must be hormones. My husband suggested calling my OB. I never did and now over time it has pretty much passed on its own."
"I have the same thing - a rush of depression. This did not happen with my first son, 14 years ago, but it is happening now with my daughter, 3 months old. I thought I was crazy - why would nature make breastfeeding unpleasant? Although I do love to watch my baby bliss out on the milk. And like the other mama said, I can be starving, and then as soon as the milk lets down, I can't stand the thought of food and am instantly not hungry."
"I love nursing my son and I find it bonding and comforting, but when he first latches on, I get the rush of severe, severe, severe depressive feelings and loss of appetite. I don't want to get into it, but wanted to let you know I'm following the thread 'cause I totally get where you're coming from.
"I felt this way with my son. It was the most horrible feeling in the world. At times I felt like I never wanted to nurse again... But I always did and 2.5 years and another baby later I still am. It was so uncomfortable, but it only lasted about a month for me."
"I get the same icky feeling; in fact, it was one of many problems with breastfeeding that lead to me pumping exclusively. I still get the yucky feeling with pumping."
"I had the exact same thing happen to me!! It was exactly as so many of you have described... about 30 seconds before let-down, I'd get this huge, horrible rush of icky feelings - for me it was some sort of mix of dread, panic, hopelessness and other things I couldn't really describe. It was one of the worst things I've ever felt, and I seriously thought I was the only one. It lasted a long time for me - over a year - but it finally went away, and we're going on 27 months of nursing now."
"I didn't know others felt like this! I always try to nurse at least 15 minutes before I plan to eat or sometime after because if I have to nurse during a meal I lose my appetite. I also feel hopeless and sad when I nurse. Also anxiety."
"Just want to say me too me too. Strongest in the early months, still happens once in a blue moon. But yea! I made it to 12 months and beyond! and the feelings at times were so strong I was suicidal feeling - I hated it but began to realize it was temporary if you will and just dealt with it but I had heard it was 'normal for some moms' and is one of those reasons some women just can't nurse."
"Count me in! It's getting better after 4 months of breastfeeding but I still get it."
"I know just what you mean. I get the same feeling. I'm pretty sure it's chemical. My feeling is sadness mixed with an intense loss of appetite. It happens a minute or two after my son latches on, and then it goes away after a few minutes. I think what people said makes a lot of sense. Usually I look into my son's eyes and take some deep breaths and that seems to help."
"I had the EXACT same experience. Although once nursing would get underway, I'd feel better. And I had no depression otherwise - in fact, I was the happiest I had ever been in my life during the first 6 months after having my son. I actually got used to the sensation and it does lessen gradually and go away entirely. It didn't go away entirely, though, my son was close to a year old. I still nurse him now (he's 22 months) and I never get the feeling. Just speculating but I had always thought it was just the hormones triggered by the letdown."
"I haven't really told anybody this, but I go through something similar every time I start nursing my baby. She is almost 8 months old now and it has gotten better with time. But it is so strange. Right after she latches on I get a rush of negative emotion. The closest word I have for it is "shame", isn't that weird? I feel strange and sad and shameful, but then after letdown the feeling goes away and I feel very loving toward her and it is no big deal. I've always chalked it up to something hormonal and I just let it ride. It isn't as intense now as it was months ago. I imagine it will be almost nothing in another few months."
"Those feelings were awful and made worse by the fact that I couldn't figure out why breastfeeding was making me so depressed - I googled and googled and didn't find much. No one ever mentioned it as a side effect of breastfeeding so I felt a bit weird bringing it up with anyone. That hollow, depressed feeling went away - don't remember when - although I'm still breastfeeding my daughter."
"YES!!! With my first son I thought it was just because it was so challenging to establish and maintain a breastfeeding relationship with him -- But then it happened again with my second son, when I was no longer faced with any of those challenges. Sometimes I'd feel like I might have to throw up because that hollow feeling in my stomach was SO strong and intense... I never mentioned it to anyone but my husband, I thought it might sound crazy or like I felt breastfeeding was negative."
"I'm not the only one! I'm not a freak??? All I can is O MY GOODNESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You have no idea how good it feels to know that other woman experience this too. I just had my 3rd child 8 weeks ago and yet again I am experiencing this empty, hallow, depressed feeling with let down while nursing. I have experienced it with all of my children. With my second I did bring it up with my nurse practitioner and that resulted with nothing. She had never heard of it before, oxytocin is supposed to make you feel happy............... yeah I KNOW! I was just thinking about how I wanted to explore it more this time around and not just suffer through it but see if there is something I can do. I too have suspected that it was hormone related."
"Huh, yeah, I definitely get that hollow feeling with letdown. Not every time though. It's very strange, and I've never seen it discussed anywhere before. Nice to know I'm not the only one."
"I'm a first time mom breastfeeding a 6 week old. Over the past couple of weeks I've noticed that whenever he latches on and begins to nurse I get this overwhelming feeling of either anxiety, weepiness, or feel just plain depressed! It only seems bad when I'm nursing and usually goes away by the end of the feeding...but it makes things difficult for both of us as I sometimes try to push feedings off because I'm having a hard time."
"The exact same thing happened to me while breastfeeding my daughter. I'm about to give birth to my second child and I was searching the web on information on this subject and found NOTHING!! It's good to hear that I'm not imagining this strange reaction to let-down."
"Up until the last 2 weeks ago every time I sat down to feed my daughter I was in tears and I couldn't understand why - I just wanted to give up breastfeeding as it was the answer to the problem but my partner kept at me and wouldn't let my 'give-up' I found when ever I fed her my heart would pound and I would want to cry and would feel sad/lost/sick and depressed."
"I get this too. It's the most overwhelming feeling of absolute panic. I sweat and my heart pounds. It's started to get better. I read when I feed the baby too and that helps, but I feel terrible because I don't enjoy my time nursing her."
"Every time I nurse my son I get anxious and panicky in my stomach. It's really hard to explain. It's almost like impatience and a desire to be out of the situation. This is the first time this feeling has happened during nursing, but now its every time for the past couple days. I used to get the same feeling when I would be at people's houses or have people at my family's house. It was like a need to get things back to normal. Almost like a homesickness. I've had those feelings since childhood. Now I am upset that this feeling is coming over me when I am nursing my son. Why do I want to be out of this situation?"
"I know this must be hard to understand, I can't even explain it.... I get a strong mood change (feeling blue and down) a few second before milk let down, the emotional feeling just last for a minute, but this is not pleasant at all. Also, my let down process happens all day without stimulation, may be every couple hours or so, feeding or not feeding. So I get this strong mood change all day."
"Yes, I absolutely get this...I thought I was just crazy. It's like a sinking feeling for a minute or so while the let down is happening. I hope it goes away soon."
"This happens for me too! I would describe the feeling as despair. Luckily it only lasts a few seconds. After about 3 months I didn't get the random let-downs as often so it mostly just happened during feedings. The mood issues were almost completely gone by about 6-7 months. My baby is 10 months now and I only really get the bad mood change during my period. So it should get better. And you're not alone! (I thought I was going crazy at first!)"
"Oh my goodness, I'm so glad you posted this!!! I get the EXACT same thing! Right before let down, I would get this feeling of 'WHAT am I DOING here??? Almost questioning my whole position in life if I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing, etc. Then it goes away!"
"My son is about 2 weeks old and every time I nurse him I get this weird feeling of panic and sadness right before I feel the milk let-down. But it only lasts 5-10 seconds and then subsides. Is it something that I am going to have to deal with throughout my breastfeeding career? I am enjoying nursing my sweet little boy, but I really hate this feeling. Everyone has always told me how breastfeeding is supposed to give you a happy, relaxed feeling so I kind of feel like a freak!"
"I remember getting, not really a panic attack but, a bit of a panicky feeling, at let down and my heart would race for a few beats. After the let down it usually left me feeling happy to be feeding my baby."
"I've had this in the early months, especially with baby #1 but also with #2. I also notice I get angry sometimes too - just a temper flare right when I start nursing, it can be towards someone who takes my attention from the baby or it can be something that annoyed me earlier that for those first moments flares up again in my mind."
"I used to get a hollow feeling - I didn't really equate it with a depressive feeling but I would describe it as more of a "sigh". And it was very fleeting, just around let down. At first I thought I was imagining it, but as it persisted I just came to expect it. But my son is now 8 months and I don't get the feeling anymore and I can't think of when I stopped getting it?"
"I felt very panicky and had anxiety over breastfeeding. I would tell my mom that I couldn't stand to sit there and nurse. She replied with, "Don't be ridiculous". I would also get sick to my stomach and I would just wait for my head to drop onto my chest. It always did. I was also very sad."
"Wow, is all I can say. It is a fleeting feeling as described. I never attributed it to breastfeeding but ironically just as my milk lets down I sometimes would get that yuck kind of feel. Oddly enough this feeling reminds me of the guilty feelings I encountered during some of my first orgasms. Sometimes I feel hollow and consumed with thoughts of what ifs, does that make sense? These thoughts are brief but sometimes I cant stop obsessing about them or feeling guilty for having them. I look at my happy child as I feed her and I don't understand why I feel this way. Sometimes I get a smaller variation of the feeling and sometimes I get it in overload. Maybe I'm reading too much into it but it is comforting to know that this may be what I am going through."
"I had this lots with my first child, but our breastfeeding start off was horrible and I always thought it was an anxiety reaction, almost a cognitive thing, because I used to dread having to feed her for the first 6 weeks because my nipples were hanging off. I have not experienced it with my other three"
"I used to have something like what you describe that I called "A Reverse Orgasm." It was like I experienced every possible negative emotion all at once, and it was overwhelming and not exactly pleasant. I also suspected oxytocin."
"I also used to feel very sad and depressed during letdown. An overwhelming feeling of sadness, to the point that I would think "gosh oxytocin is the happy hormone; I must have some sort of imbalance because I don't feel happy at all." I talked to my husband about it and he thought it was all related to hormonal changes postpartum. Anyway, it was really hard to understand and explain and although I don't get it anymore at 11 months postpartum, I still remember the feeling very clearly. Thank you for bringing this up, when I saw the title of the thread I thought "finally! I'm not crazy after all!"
"Yes me too...when I was breastfeeding my first son...and fleeting like you say, but it did feel yucky for those few moments. I remember a friend mentioning the hormone high she got when breastfeeding and feeling distinctly jealous at getting the polar opposite.....I'd describe it as feeling a bit sick, a bit anxious and yeah a bit just blah miserable. Can't say I actually loved breastfeeding for the experience itself but did for all the benefits obviously. I haven't had the same thing with my second child though for which I am very grateful, though slightly curious why. With him it's more of an instant relaxation as I would have expected."
"Yep, the nausea thing here as well.....in fact I get the slightly uneasy nauseous feeling well before my letdown and it is quite a good warning before a random letdown at the store or somewhere....I have about a minute of feeling a little bit nauseous and the thought of eating repulses me and then, when the milk starts to come.....I can chow down again...I always thought it must be a oxytocin side effect from the hormonal surge just before letdown"
"I can definitely attest to having that feeling in the beginning of breastfeeding! For about the first 3 months I felt depressed while breastfeeding which made me feel SO weird because everyone says how you are supposed to feel so loving etc etc, well I just felt dark."
"I experienced this for the first 6 months or so of breastfeeding each of my 3 children. I used to think of it as "my homesickness feeling" - the best way I could put into words how it felt. I used to mention it to my husband, but just put it down to a physical/hormonal reaction to nursing and accepted it as part and parcel of nursing - didn't know there was any way to "fix it"! I also presumed everyone felt it - obviously not so!"
"Huh, yeah, I definitely get that hollow feeling with letdown. Not every time though. It's very strange, and I've never seen it discussed anywhere before. Nice to know I'm not the only one."
"Sometimes I'd feel like I might have to throw up because that hollow feeling in my stomach was SO strong and intense... I never mentioned it to anyone but my husband, I thought it might sound crazy or like I felt breastfeeding was negative."
"The feelings that you talk about are very, very familiar for me. I never tell people how unbearable my feelings while nursing are because it makes me sound like a terrible person. I love my kids so it is hard to hate something that they *have* to do so much. I dread breastfeeding more than I dread pregnancy or giving birth. The fact that I know that breast milk is the best thing I can give her is the only reason why I nurse. I just can't imagine not nursing one of my children because of a personal issue. I just got my first post partum period and it magnified the feelings x10. The only thing that helps me is doing something while nursing- mostly the internet, TV, talking to someone when we are out. Just sitting in the glider nursing is enough for me to want to scale the walls and run away, it makes me sick to my stomach and I often have a hard time being civil to my older son or my husband if they catch me in a bad moment. I feel so sad that other people feel like this, but I'm also relieved that I am not a terrible person or a freak because of it."
"When my cycles returned and I was nursing my daughter it would happen every now and then. It was awful."
"I did sometimes feel very irritable or even angry prior to and during letdown. (I was an exclusive pumper, don't know if that had something to do with it- but it wasn't psychological, it was definitely hormonal)"
"I'm 34 weeks pregnant and have started to worry about this again. I experienced it with both of my other children and I am dreading it this time. For me it's a tightening in my chest and an intense FLOOD of negative emotions that I actually can't even piece together into one thought. It's just "everything's horrible" and I feel so gross & sad. I'm just really glad to know I'm not alone and hopefully will find some answers."
"I don't usually feel sad or depressed, though. It's more like gross, disgusted, irritated, etc. I never feel it toward my son, but almost always feel it toward my husband. After so long, I figured out that it only occurred while breastfeeding and that it was really not about my husband, but somehow those thoughts became an automatic reaction, I think. Also, in my case, breastfeeding made me feel warm and fuzzy for several months and these negative feelings didn't start to occur until my son was around 10 months old."
"I had it bad with my first for the first few months (unpleasant birth -- forceps and lots of cuts plus tearing and messed up tailbone) and a bit with my second (much nicer birth, no epidural, labored in water). It has gone away but I've never been mad keen on breastfeeding."
"I have this too, and it's slowly going away as my son gets older. I remember on the first day how it felt like I had tiny little strings running from my throat to my stomach that were being tightened, and the depressing feeling and sinking stomach...very ewk. I asked my apprentice midwife (also my good friend) who nursed her two boys and she didn't remember ever feeling like that. If he stays latched on for more than 20 minutes, I get what feels like restless leg syndrome all over my body. It's nasty."
"I have experienced this. I experienced it a lot at first after the baby was born. There are times with the hollow feeling, but I would describe it as kind of a "homesick" feeling too."
"I feel terribly melancholy, aching, homesick and hopeless. I TOTALLY lose my appetite (even if I have an empty stomach and my husband just prepared a huge plate of yummy food---he'd feel so bad if we were about to eat and then my daughter needed to nurse) which is only regained after the nursing session. The immediate, intense feelings last for maybe 5-10 minutes? With the first few minutes being the worst. It lasted the first year of nursing and slowly diminished even though we were still nursing up to 15 times a day until fairly recently (she is 26 months now.) I used to get this feeling when I was little, often during family gatherings when everyone was chatting and I was quiet and I would feel just awful, very homesick and strange. I had it a handful of times later in life in similar situations."
"I've really appreciated your blog. My experience with D-MER hasn't been as severe or traumatic as some (a general feeling of anxiety, yuckiness, hopelessness and self-disgust that comes with the intense thirst during let-down), but it really has helped me know that 1) I'm not repressing some traumatic incident that's causing these feelings and 2) these feelings don't indicate some sort of bonding issue or something (because breastfeeding was SUPPOSED to release a bunch of feel-good hormones). Now I don't have to hold to those bad feelings--I can let them fly out of my mind the same way they flew in. It's brought me a lot of freedom knowing that I'm not alone or a weirdo for feeling this way."
"I'd like to thank you for this website. Up until I saw this recently I believed that I was odd or twisted having these horrible feeling at such a special time. I've just given birth to non identical twin boys 4 1/2 weeks ago and have been experiencing 'D-MER' exactly as you describe it. The photos on your site are so amazingly similar to my facial expressions when I'm overcome with this feeling just prior to letdown. Whether I'm feeding, expressing or sitting on a bus looking out the window. If I get this wave of feelings, then I can count up 20 or so and my milk begins to 'letdown'. When ever I have mentioned this to any health professionals, friends or family they have never heard of anything like it and I've got the impression they thought I was mad/mentally scarred or imagining it. Since hearing it happens not only to other women, but has a name, I can deal with it better as I'm not wondering WHY but thinking 'Oh, there it is, my milk will be here, then it will go very soon'. Thank you again"
"Wow, I never knew that there were other women out there who suffered with this! I thought it was just me, maybe some weird hormonal thing. I don't feel a physical letdown either. It's more of an intense, anxious, unease with an extreme distaste for food. I have to remind myself that it only lasts a few minutes. My daughter is 5 months old and it's just as intense today as it was when she was first born. I think I had it with my first born as well; I just didn't associate it with breastfeeding. I'm really interested in finding out more!"
"Oh thank you, thank you for bringing this up! YES! I had this same thing with all 5 of my babies. Not only yucky in my stomach, but a feeling of anger/irritability too. It did go away after a few months although I still breastfed. But I never heard of that from anyone else, in fact, if I ever mentioned it people thought I was weird. So, yes it happened to me too. I hope you all are able to get to the bottom of it for future mamas.""Wow- this is in some ways describing what I've been trying to explain to my family for years- I don't feel "depressed" as such with letdown, but at the beginning of each feed, i get a kind of anxious feeling- the best way I could describe it is a butterflies-in-my-tummy feeling, and even if I'm really hungry and about to eat dinner etc all of a sudden i lose my appetite! Within a few minutes it passes, and I can eat, and don't feel anxious anymore. I always assumed that when it came to briefly losing my appetite, it was my body's way of focusing on feeding my baby, instead of myself! But it still continues and she is almost 9 months old! So they have a name for it now!"