Breastfeeding after Surgery

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Reduction Surgery and Breastfeeding

( BFAR ) “Breastfeeding after breast reduction surgery."

Many surgeons inform mothers before a reduction surgery that they have a 50 % chance of successful lactation afterward.

Almost all women who have had a breast reduction are able to lactate, but sometimes it does happen that a large part of the lactation system is hurt during surgery. After a reduction surgery they will usually have milk, but how much milk is the question.

Operations that are done on the areola and nipple almost always affect breastfeeding. Some surgeons are skilled enough to move these without severing them completely, making breastfeeding after reduction easier.

If you are thinking about going for a reduction or breast lift surgery and would still like to breastfeed afterward, it would be best to ask your surgeon about the pedicle procedure in which these essential parts of your breasts are kept intact, making breastfeeding after breast reduction more possible.

Most women that have had their nipples and areolas completely removed will be able to give their babies colostrum because colostrum is hormonally produced. Later on, they might find that they cannot produce enough milk for their babies since milk is triggered by nipple and areola stimulation.

Research shows that women who have had any breast surgeries will have a greater chance of being successful at breastfeeding if their surgeries are at least five years before trying to breastfeed.

This is a result of your body repairing its mammary system via a process called recanalization. With each pregnancy, breastfeeding will become easier, as breast tissue grows during these times to get the body ready for lactation.

Moms can usually tell before pregnancy whether they will be able to breastfeed, by noticing whether the nipple and areola are sensitive to touch or hot and cold stimulation. The more you “feel," the better your chances of lactation. Touch sensitivity is a sign that the nerves have repaired themselves.

A woman that has had a good milk supply before a breast surgery will usually not suffer from a lack of breast milk supply after surgery, but if she already had problems before the operation, she will most likely have an even lower milk supply after surgery.

Breastfeeding after Surgery - Reduction
A Doctors View

Increasing Breast Milk Supply after Surgery

NB – Remember that any small amount of breast milk will benefit a baby.

How to Know if your Baby is Getting in Enough Milk?

More signs that your baby is drinking enough milk

Breast Implants and Breastfeeding

Can you breastfeed with implants?

Breastfeeding with breast implants is commonly easier to do, than breastfeeding after a breast reduction; this is due to the fact that the breast tissue is still intact. Implants that are inserted through a periareolar incision (through the nipple area) are more likely to cause problems when breastfeeding.

If you still want to breastfeed after surgery, you should ask your surgeon about placing the implant under your chest muscle or under through your armpits; this reduces any risk of damage to your breast tissue and nerves.

Implants can also cause problems when they put pressure on the breast, which can damage the breast tissue.

Problems that occur during breastfeeding after getting breast implants

  • Women with breast implants have an increased risk of developing mastitis infections.
  • Increased risk of galactorrhea (breast milk production by a woman who is not pregnant or who has not recently given birth).
  • Risk of galactocele (milk filled tumor in a blocked breast milk duct).
  • Implants and breastfeeding have been associated with low milk supply issues.
  • Extra breast engorgement at the beginning of the breastfeeding relationship.

Lumpectomy and Breastfeeding after Surgery

Sometimes the area where the lump has been removed might become hard and painful, some of the breast tissue might have been severed during surgery, but the rest of the breast tissue will usually not be affected.

Most times a mother has only one breast operated on and can breastfeed with the remaining unaffected breast tissue. Ask your surgeon to cut as few ducts as possible during surgery, and express your desire to breastfeed.

Breast Lift Breastfeeding

During a breast mastopexy, only the old skin is removed, the underlying tissue is usually not altered; as a result, it does not cause any complications or problems, unless the nipple has been completely removed.

Breastfeeding after a Cesarean section. 

Breastfeeding after surgery is possible if you have had breast surgery and are worried about whether you will be able to breastfeed or not. You should talk to a lactation consultant. If you are planning to get the surgery done, it would be best to speak with your surgeon about ways protecting as much breast tissue as possible.

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