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Anxiety Stricken During Nursing

Updated: Oct 22, 2022

I had been nursing my sweet Eleanor for 8 weeks now and everything had been going great. One day I put her to the breast and within seconds I had gotten this horrible anxious feeling. I wanted to stop nursing it was so bad. Shortly after it went away, and I shrugged it off eventually forgetting about it.

I returned to work the following week and while pumping, the anxiety hit again. I assumed it was the return to work and missing my daughter that was causing this. Before I was finished the feeling was gone and I returned to work as usual.

Then, it started happening with almost every nursing and pumping session. I was having a really hard time pinpointing what was causing this. I kept trying to go through my mind to find some unresolved issue that I had… but nothing. I started to do some research and found out I wasn’t crazy, this was actually D-MER.

What is D-MER? It’s a negative emotion that happens right before letdown. Some mothers experience it worse than others. This is different than PPD or PPA as the feeling is only temporary and only happens during the letdown. However, mothers who have PPD or PPA can be more likely to experience D-MER.

It’s unclear why it happens. Some studies show that when a letdown happens some mothers have a sudden drop in dopamine. This sudden drop causes the feelings of anxiousness, sadness or dread.

I still have D-MER but I have found some things that seem to help it.

- Magnesium Supplements

- Watching videos or looking at images of my daughter while pumping

- Smelling her sweet little head, rubbing her fingers and talking to her while nursing

It’s important to be aware of your feelings during your postpartum period. If you are experiencing sadness, agitation or depression please reach out to your healthcare provider.

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