Breastfeeding after breast reduction

Breastfeeding after breast reduction - Transcript

If you have had breast reduction surgery in the past, you might be wondering whether breastfeeding is possible at all, but I can tell you that it is, and how much you make will certainly be variable from person to person. But I couldn’t look at you and say, well you wouldn’t be able to produce a certain amount of milk or the other way round. The main thing is to give it a go and see what happens with your milk supply. Some women can find that they produce the full supply, some will produce a partial amount of milk and have to give supplements as well as breastfeeding but even if your body is producing minimal amount of milk, it is still possible to have your baby at the breast.

And how much milk that your body makes is usually depending on the type of surgery that you had for the breast reduction.

It may be that if you are in a position at the moment thinking about having surgery, have a good chat with the surgeon and talk about lactation in the future because surgeons are now in positions to be able to carry out surgery that will minimize the disruption to the milk making tissue inside. We know the where the surgeon has carried out the technique and not completely severed for instance the nipple and areola, then the chances of making milk are increased. And if there has been a severing, you can imagine that type of surgery, it cuts into nerves as well, nerves which are necessary to aid the production of the milk.

And breast reduction surgery can also affect the ducts inside the breasts and the glands where the milk is made but the good news is that even although takes a long time, there can be some regrowth and even in pregnancy the glandular tissue may start to grow and enlarge.

And we also know that the longer time you have from when you had the surgery to the pregnancy, the longer time the better, because this gives your body that chance for this regrowth. And there certainly appears to be some evidence that if there has been longer than five years, then all the better.

So really whether you are pregnant or already starting to breastfeed now and you have had breast reduction surgery, whatever type of surgery that you had, there are still possibilities to increase your supply and it’s important therefore to seek out skilled help from an IBCLC or breastfeeding counsellor who can get alongside you and give you some added information on boosting supply.

So make sure that you learn about how to optimize your milk production and that will involve skin to skin, good positioning, extra pumping, use of Galactagogues, breast compressions, all of these things and see how much milk you get.

And it’s possible that you will be able to feed fully at the breast, it’s also possible that you may end up partially feeding, it’s still possible even in that situation to have your baby at the breast totally using an at breast supplemental or supplementing nursing system. So familiarize yourself with that too because I do appreciate some people really do want the baby at the breast for all of the suckling, they don’t want to offer artificial methods, like bottles. But for some of you giving bottles, is the best option alongside feeding at the breast, that’s really, really individual and you can look at all the related videos.

And we must remember that babies are coming to the breast for warmth and that relationship building. So lots of skin to skin can be done with the baby so even if you find that with all of your best efforts, your body is not able to make that milk, even no milk perhaps, even in that situation you can still use a supplemental nursing system to have your baby at the breast itself.

But if this is the case, it may be that you prefer just to bring your baby to the breast for comfort and to offer bottles formula to your baby.

So if you have had breast reduction surgery, I can appreciate that all of this can sound rather daunting but the rewards of trying to boost your supply and maximizing your breastmilk can certainly pay off and at least you will know that you have given your best shot and that relationship with your baby even at the breast, with or without a huge amount of milk can still carry on regardless.

Review dates, references & further resources

Review Dates

V1 published June 2017. Next review date: April 2020

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