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  • Writer's pictureChardá Bell, IBCLC, CBE, CD

Milk Ejection Reflex! What the heck is it?

Photo Credit : @sacredbirthdoula on Facebook; New Jersey Breastfeeding Coalition

MER = milk ejection reflex is breastmilk is released from the glands into the ducts. Often called the “letdown”. It is caused by the action of oxytocin.

This can happen not just with a feed but also with sex during orgasm, or thinking about the baby or hearing a baby cry, not even your own. Here’s to looking at that baby who made my boobs leak in target. I once ran out to get diapers while my baby rested on my breast in my baby carrier, and the other baby in the aisle over started crying. I felt my letdown immediately and the leakage was strong & real! I had to wake my sleeping baby to nurse because it was just pouring out lol.

Seeing or hearing a pump can also cause this letdown. Helpful for working moms!

Getting yourself use to the sound of your pump by using it at home around your baby first before going to work to use it can help psychologically with the release of your letdown. Get comfortable with your pump so that it can give you the desired results when you want them.

It takes about 1-2 mins on average for it to happen. So, give it time, do not stare at the pump. I repeat do not stare at it sis! It will hinder your supply and make you anxious. Like watching a pot of water waiting to boil. Instead, cover the pump with baby blanket or baby sock and have a snack or lunch or coffee lol.

Pro tip: Don't forget to label any coffee milk so you don’t give any potential traces of caffeine to baby at night.

Play some relaxing or fun music, take some deep breaths, roll your shoulders and neck. Turn on the pump and let it go. Do not look until it’s done, but make sure you’ve secured it and all first.

Some people feel it some don’t and that’s totally ok and normal. Feelings range from pins and needles, burning, tingling, etc. that doesn’t last long but for some it’s noticeable. For me it definitely was and I had more tingling.

Now that you know what it is, what it can do for you, go get to using it! Share with a client, mama friend or partner.

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