There are many reasons why some people choose to undergo breast reduction surgery. Some seek out the surgery due to simply feeling uncomfortable with large breasts. Others experience physical limitations due to the size. Back, shoulder, and neck pain, as well as pain from bra straps are also conditions that could be alleviated with reduction surgery. All of these reasons are valid and completely understandable. But those who wish to become breastfeeding mothers in the future might wonder: can you breastfeed after reduction surgery? Honestly, there’s no straight answer to it, but the outcomes for the most part are favorable.
Can you breastfeed after reduction surgery?
According to BabyCenter, the main issue with breast reduction surgery and breastfeeding is the potential damage done to the nerves, breast tissue, and milk-producing ducts within the breast. If any damage occurred, breastfeeding might be difficult. This normally occurs if the nipple was removed during the surgery. If any nerve damage occurred as a result, the release of prolactin and oxytocin (hormones essential to milk production and letdown) might be compromised.
If you’re considering reduction surgery, try to request that the nipple stay attached to the breast tissue beneath to avoid nerve damage. This is something you’ll have to discuss with your surgeon ahead of time.
If you’ve already had the surgery, you’ll be able to tell how much (if any) damage was done depending on how much sensation your nipples still have. If you can still feel plenty, chances are your production has not been affected.
Once you’re ready to start breastfeeding, your best bet is to talk to your medical provider and also a lactation consultant. There is a chance your milk production is affected in some way. If you’re not producing enough, you’ll definitely want to look into the different ways that you can supplement. Some moms pump and are able to increase their supply (or pump and save for later). Others are able to boost their supply using galacatagogues, or by simply going on ‘nursing vacation.’ Obtaining donor milk from others might be a different way to go. And of course, there’s always good ol’ formula.
At the end of the day, fed is best, so don’t let fear of breastfeeding problems prevent you from obtaining a surgery that you feel is important for you, too, mama!
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(Image: Flickr / david_martin_foto)