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breastfeeding after breast surgery

  1. #1
    Clowe is offline Registered User
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    breastfeeding after breast surgery

    Ladies - I am 27 weeks pregnant and planning to breastfeeding, as exclusively as possible and for as long as possible. My concern is that I had breast reduction surgery back in Dec 2006 on my right breast only, to remove something small that turned out to be benign. At the time the surgeon told me that it would not impact future breastfeeding at all, and after the surgery he said it went well and that he had not impacted any milk ducts, so I should still be fine to breastfeed with that breast. I have no reason to not believe him, but was wondering if anyone out there has stories to share regarding a previous breast operation (of whatever sort) and what impact the op had on breastfeeding, or if at all.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. #2
    tstmum is offline Registered User
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    Hi Clowe, I had benign breast lumps removed from both breasts when in my early 20s. I was able to breastfeed, though I found one side did not produce as much milk as the other (could tell when I expressed milk) and on this side as well I was prone to blocked ducts near the area of the scar. Seek help from a lactation consultant right from the start if you are worried. I did end up supplementing with formula at times, but breastfed predominantly until 6 months.

  3. #3
    LLL_Sarah is offline Registered User
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    Obviously the cutting of the ducts during surgery is a concern with breastfeeding. However, the ducts are able to grow back. Generally the longer since the surgery the more chance the ducts have to grow. The main times for ductal growth are during your periods and, of course, during pregnancy.

    Another concern is the main nerve from the nipple. If you think of your breast as a clock face, the nerve runs four o’clock on the left and eight o’ clock on the right. Generally nerve damage is more an issue than ductal damage.

    You might be interested in the book called Defining Your Own Success: Breastfeeding after Breast Reduction Surgery by Diana West
    “This book explores the many aspects of breastfeeding for a mother who has had breast reduction surgery, this book combines up-to-date research with experience and advice from breastfeeding mothers. This first of its kind publication is ideal for health care providers, LLL Leaders, and mothers alike, addressing the questions and myths that are associated with if and how a mother can breastfeed after breast reduction surgery.”

    This book is available from the LLL-HK library, called Maggie at 2817-7475. (We ask that mothers borrowing book become members, joining details at http://www.lllhk.org/Membership%20Matters%205.pdf)

    The best thing is to try breastfeeding but to keep a close watch on the baby’s weight so that you catch any problems early. Dr. Jack Newman also recommends that mothers with previous breast surgery consider taking the medication domperidone.
    http://www.breastfeedingonline.com/D...ombinedpdf.pdf

    I would also find out as much about breastfeeding as possible, attend La Leche League meetings (details at http://www.lllhk.org/Meetings.html - new details will be posted within the next two weeks) and attend a breastfeeding class (details at http://www.lllhk.org/Class.html)

    I have known quite a lot of mothers who have breastfed after breast surgery. Many of these mothers have had no problems at all.

    Best wishes,
    SARAH

  4. #4
    momofthree is offline Registered User
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    I had breast augmentation surgery done when I was 22,the incision was around my nipple but the implants are under my pectoral muscles.

    I have breastfed all three of my children sucessfully,the first two until one years old and the youngest still feeding at 11months.

    Best advice I can give is to be positive about the outcome and aquire as much knowledge as you can before the birth of your baby.La Leche Meetings are fantastic.

    Enjoy!!

  5. #5
    Clowe is offline Registered User
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    Wow, thanks for all your very helpful and reassuring responses! Sarah, you sound like an expert or at least a very experienced professional. I will certainly take you up on all the advice you've given, and I'm glad there are many out there who have had breastfeeding success after surgeries.

    Thanks again, ladies. This is such useful info!

  6. #6
    aussie mum is offline Registered User
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    i had breast reduction surgery when i was 17. The method used was such that the nipple itself was not removed and I was told by my doctor that i should be able to breastfeed. they wouldn't guarantee it of course.
    i had my first son when i was 30 and had a lot of problems breastfeeding but there could have been a number of contributing factors. he was born at 36.5 weeks, weighing 5lbs. he was not interested in feeding AT ALL. just wanted to sleep and initally had no sucking reflex.
    i found i did produce milk but it did not seem to replenish in a timely way. maybe due to nerve damage in the surgery or maybe due to the lack of "demand" from my son. I will never know.

    I did buy the book sarah mentioned before he was born and i found it invaluable. I also had a lot of support which was great. Unfortunately I was also under a lot of pressure from the pro-breastfeeding doctors and health visitors in the UK and he lost nearly 30% of his body weight before i supplemented with formula. I don't think this helped!

    eventually the strain of breastfeeding and cup feeding formula and expressing / pumping to try and increase supply became all too much and by the time he was 6 weeks old he was a 100% formula -fed baby.

    I am now 18 weeks pregnant again and intend to give breastfeeding another go. with any luck i will have a full-term voracious feeder and supply won't be a problem this time around.
    the book mentioned above also suggests that in many cases feeding is easier with a second child. so cross fingers!

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