Should you need urgent health advice please contact your GP or call NHS 111. In an emergency please visit A&E or call 999

Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust is responsible for the writing, publishing and updating of the content on this page.

You're viewing the site locally in: Hertfordshire

When you don’t enjoy breastfeeding

Breastfeeding Aversion or Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex (also known as D-MER)

You may experience one or more of these common negative feelings whilst breastfeeding or pumping. Symptoms vary in onset, severity and duration. There are many words that mothers with D-MER use to describe their feelings:

  • Feeling anxious or overwhelmed
  • Sadness or hopelessness
  • Agitation or anger
  • Skin itching sensations
  • Urge to de-latch baby, feeling trapped
  • Hollow feeling in pit of stomach

You have done nothing wrong to cause breastfeeding aversion, and it says nothing about your love for your baby. D-MER is a physiological response that appears to be tied to a sudden decrease in the brain chemical dopamine (a ‘’feel good’’ hormone).

Symptoms of D-MER often self correct with time. There are numerous ways to manage breastfeeding aversion successfully and continue to have a happy breastfeeding relationship with your baby.

Breastfeeding aversion is a challenge and you may want to stop breastfeeding. Be honest about what you are feeling and contact your health visitor to talk through your emotions.

Useful links

ChatHealth Logo

Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust runs a confidential secure text messaging service for parents of children aged 0-5 years called ChatHealth. The service operates Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, excluding bank holidays. All texts will be responded to by a health visitor within 24 hours. Outside of the service working hours, you’ll receive a message back to inform you that your text will be responded to once the service reopens.

  • ChatHealth messaging service:


    07480 635164
  • Family Centre Service (Health Visiting and Family Support):


    0300 123 7572

Should you require urgent health advice in the meantime, please contact your GP, visit an NHS walk-in centre or call NHS 111. For emergencies, dial 999 or visit A&E.

This page was last reviewed on 13-02-2023

This page will be next reviewed on 13-02-2026