Can I Breastfeed If I’ve Had Breast Surgery?

[ 0 ] May 7, 2015 |


Some types of breast surgeries are quite compatible with successful breastfeeding. Breastfeeding success is often times related to the actual type of surgery. Here are some important aspects to consider.

What if you’ve had breast implants? How will this affect your milk supply? Usually having breast implants doesn’t affect milk supply. Surgeons typically go beneath the pectus muscle through an incision under the breast or along side the breast near the armpit for implants. This leaves all the milk ducts and sinuses intact for successful breastfeeding. The success of breastfeeding may be connected to the reason why you had the enhancement. Women have said, “I had no breasts at all,” or “I looked like a 12 year old boy.” There may be a chance you did not have enough glandular tissue (the milk-making tissue) to begin with. These mothers will likely produce milk, but may have issues with a full milk supply. If you had average size breasts but just wanted an enhancement, you will likely be fine.

What if you’ve had breast reduction surgery? How will this affect your supply? Breast reduction surgery removes tissue and skin from the breast to reduce and reshape the size of the breast. There are generally two types of procedures for breast reduction surgery. It will depend on which type of surgery you had that will likely determine the impact on breast milk production.

The first procedure most commonly used is called the Pedicle Method. This method, sometimes called the anchor method, helps to reduce breast tissue volume, contours the breast and maintains nipple function and sensation. This procedure involves raising the nipple and areola to higher positions while leaving portions of underlying tissue attached for support. The more tissue that remains intact, the greater your chance is for successful breastfeeding and milk production.

The second type is called the Free Nipple Graft (FNG), which involves removing the nipple, and grafting it to a new location. This severs or cuts the blood and nerve supply to the nipple. Most women will lose sensation in the nipple and there is a dramatic impact to the ability to breastfeed. Most surgeons only use this if the patient’s breasts are too large for the pedicle procedure. As you can imagine, disrupting the nipple and underlying tissue will likely result in minimal amounts of milk production.

Another procedure is a breast lift, also called a Mastoplexy. While this is technically not a breast reduction, it does rearrange tissue in certain areas of the breast. The procedure may involve removing tissue, replacing it with an implant and even liposuction in areas around the breast. Depending upon the extent of the breast lift, this may also impact supply. Many women will have this done because their breasts are different sizes. Therefore one breast might be more manipulated than the other. Less manipulation generally is better from a milk supply standpoint.

There are many stories of women successfully breastfeeding their baby after breast surgery. It’s important to know the type of breast surgery you’ve had, so ask your surgeon if you are unsure. Each situation is different and it will be hard to predict what your outcomes might be. There is not one solution for every circumstance.

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Category: Health, Women's Health

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About Jill Lindquist: Jill Lindquist is very passionate about breastfeeding and helping moms and babies along their breastfeeding journey. She’s also about empowering the mother and giving her the confidence and education she needs to love, nurture and [...]
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