I’ve been exclusively breastfeeding my daughter since she was born, now nearly eleven weeks ago. To be honest, it’s been going pretty great for us from the start. She latched on perfectly from the minute she was born and still does. I’ve no problems with supply, had cracked nipples only for a few days. I can easily manage to express a bottle or so each day as well so daddy can feed her the odd time and I can get a few hours of every once in a while.
I love the bond nursing gives me with my newborn. It’s something truly special. However, while the mechanics of it worked well, from the start, I encountered some very strong negative emotions while feeding her. These were panicky feelings, emotions of longing somehow. I would almost describe them as homesickness, even though that doesn’t really make any sense!
These emotions never lasted long, only for the first few minutes of nursing. They were not always equally strong and they have lessened with time, although they have not fully disappeared. Of course, I felt awfully bad about feeling that way. I had a healthy baby, I love her more than life itself, she is thriving on my milk. It was always a passing thing, so it didn’t appear to be full blown post natal depression.
Then I found this article on Kelly Mom, a website and excellent resource dedicated to breastfeeding. It was such a revelation to learn that these emotions were actually a ‘real thing’. I had never heard of D-Mer, no one had mentioned it to me. I think it is a relatively unknown thing, so the midwifes and doctors are not familiar with it either. But it turns out that other women experience the same thing. It’s a recognised physiological (as opposed to phychological) response to milk letdown.
Knowing that I’m not just imagining things has actually made it much easier to deal with. I can now just accept it as something that will happen, wait for it to pass, and then enjoy nursing my daughter.
I am sharing this here in the hope that other mothers who’ve experienced the same thing might read it and feel better as well. This should be much more commonly known amongst healthcare professionals. It is a vicious circle. The women affected don’t speak about it, thinking that it is just them, which obviously means it remains a hidden phenomenon. Spread the word!